Eco Friendly Water Wash Printing Plates

Eco Friendly Water Wash Printing Plates

Water Not Solvent

For many years, one of the last remaining chemicals in our shop has been plate making solvent. In order to make high quality photo polymer printing plates, the plate material must be etched away to remove the non-printing area and leave the raised print impression area.  In the past this was done with a solvent and a brush, but not anymore.

New Technology – No Chemicals

This week Rose City Label became one of the first shops in the country to install a high quality Water Wash Printing Plate system.  This system uses a different type of printing plate than can be etched with just soap and water – no solvent required.  This is revolutionary technology that we have been waiting for for many years.

Faster Processing TimesWater Wash Printing Plates

An additional benefit of this new system is a 60% reduction in plate processing times.  This means plates are on press faster, with less downtime.  This is important for all jobs, but especially new, complex jobs that may require an adjustment on press.  Now we can be back up in running in less than one hour!  With no solvent to absorb into the plate, there is no need to wait for this solvent to evaporate.

Processing time is cut from 2.5 hours to 55 minutes!

Better Print Quality, too!

Quality Water Wash Printing PlateOne final, very important benefit of this new system is a better quality printing plate.  The detail and the image quality from these plates is superior to any previous plate we have seen.  We tried several different technologies before we selected this system, and I am confident that these are the best printing plates that any label company has to offer.


Best Quality – Faster Processing – Earth Friendly

Thank you to all our customers that continue to trust us with their very important label printing jobs.  Because of all of you, we are able to invest in the latest technology to grow and build our business.  We appreciate everyone that has been with us on this amazing journey.  We will continue to grow and innovate as we move forward into the future.

What can we do to help you?  Please call us today with any label project – we are here to help.

Oregon Wines: Red, White and Green

Oregon Wines: Red, White and Green

Oregon businesses often lead the way when it comes to eco-friendly practices. We at Rose City Label are always on the lookout for new ways to reduce our impact on the local ecology. We’re also pretty enthusiastic about recognizing other local businesses that demonstrate their concern for the environment.

In some cases, those fellow Oregon businesses also happen to be Rose City Label clients. In recent years, the Pacific Northwest wine industry has seen a real shift towards sustainable business practices. From vineyard to bottling, we’ve seen a number of initiatives to “green up” our local wineries.

We Love Sustainable Oregon Wine Producers

Happily, sustainable Oregon wineries are getting due recognition for their efforts. Various news articles, online and in print, are giving praise to our state’s wine industry for its shift toward sustainable practices.

Of particular note is Rose City Label client Soter Vineyards. Their sustainability initiatives include multiple green certifications, in addition to the use of energy from renewable sources to produce their Willamette Valley varietals. In the Columbia River Gorge, Cerulean Wines is another of our clients who share our enthusiasm for sustainable business practices.

Salmon-Safe Vineyards

Several other Rose City Label clients have earned some well-deserved recognition for an array of sustainable practices. Over 200 Oregon and Washington vineyards carry a Salmon-Safe certification, and that number is sure to grow as awareness among farmers increases. Kudos to our clients who have led the way in Salmon-Safe grape cultivation:

If you’re interested in Salmon-Safe Certification for your vineyard, look for more information here.

Red, White, Rosé … and Green!

Looking for a more extensive list of “green” wine producers—or want to make sure your winery gets the eco-conscious recognition it deserves? You can find a detailed directory here, at one of our favorite wine-centric sites.

Happy tasting!

Go Green; Go Local

Increasingly, businesses are taking steps to become more environmentally responsible. The growing “green” trend is particularly strong here in the greater Portland area—which gives us at Rose City Label great pride in our hometown. Going green makes good financial sense in the short-term as well as over the long haul; and we’re pleased to be an industry leader in green labeling technology and solutions.

Many small businesses in the Pacific Northwest see the value in sourcing locally. It’s become a point of pride among area businesses. In addition to being a smart business practice, going local is among the easiest ways to “green up” a business. When you think about all the fuel it takes to move materials from one place to another, it’s easy to see how quickly you can reduce your carbon footprint by going local.

Sourcing Locally

If you’re really looking to source locally, it’s important to know that your local suppliers are doing the same. Your carbon footprint is only as small as that of the suppliers you depend on to produce your finished product. Of course, it’s rarely possible to source everything you need in your own neighborhood—but it’s great to choose that option when you have it.

For example, a Portland coffee shop can’t obtain Columbian beans that were grown six miles down the road. However, the owner of such a shop can choose to work with a local roaster, or even roast her own. She can hire a Portland decorator, whom she chose because he uses glass and ceramics from an Oregon manufacturer and art from a Washington gallery.

In-House, Start to Finish

At Rose City Label, each of our projects begins and ends in our Portland manufacturing facility. We design and manufacture each plate, in-house, according to our customers’ needs and desires. Our traditional presses have been churning out crisp, clear labels longer than some of our clients have been alive.

Other than the presses themselves, the only equipment we don’t make in-house is our cutting dies. A company in St. Louis makes them to our specifications, right here in the United States. We’re proud to obtain most of our shipping supplies from Portland Packaging, another local company who makes great contributions to our community.

Our paper supplies come from several warehouses in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve found that sourcing locally is good for the Earth, as well as minimizing our time and cost factors. We have yet to find a down side to doing business as locally as possible, whenever possible.

At Rose City Label, we pride ourselves on serving our local community of businesses by choosing the most local and the most environmentally responsible supplies available. In short, we strive to be what we like to see—local businesses sharing a common goal of thriving in a prosperous, healthy community. Let’s go green together!

Are you ready to see how Rose City Label can make your product stand out from the competition? Take a look at the markets we serve or contact us online. We’d love the opportunity to put our experience and creativity to work for you.

Reuse your Trash to Save Money – It’s Easy…

Reuse your Trash to Save Money – It’s Easy…

Money saving, eco-friendly ideas are all around you, you just have to start looking for them.  Being a more ‘green’ company doesn’t require massive investments or big changes in how you do business.  Small steps, done repeatedly over time, make the most impact.

The photo above needs a bit more explanation, but hopefully it will spark some ideas that are right in front of you in your own business.

What do we do with Slip Sheets?

On the left of the photo you see rolls of paper separated by ‘slip sheets’.  These are basically wax-paper rings that are inserted between rolls of paper when they are shipped to us.  This is because this adhesive backed paper often has a bit of adhesive residue on the edges – without the slip sheets, the entire group of rolls could stick together into one big mess!  The slip sheets are necessary – unfortunately they can’t be eliminated.

So the next step is finding a suitable recycle or reuse purpose for them.  Since they are wax coated, it was difficult to recycle them in our standard mixed paper recycle stream.  So if we can’t recycle, how can we reuse them?

How do we fill our boxes?

On the right you see the slip sheets actually being used to stuff boxes that are shipped to our customers.  This is a perfect use for this material – and it saves us the cost of purchasing packing paper.  It is a win – win – win for us, the customers, and the environment.

On a related note – back when all employees took the daily newspaper – we tried using newspaper to stuff the boxes, but this proved difficult because the ink from the paper often transferred onto the labels in the box – and it didn’t present a very professional image to our customers – seeing their beautiful labels packed in comics or classified ads for used cars!  This new solution doesn’t have any of these problems.

How can you apply this?

If you are just getting started, we get it. It isn’t easy and often the overwhelm prevents people from even beginning their eco-journey.  It doesn’t have to be that hard.

  1. What is one area of waste we can attack? This could be corrugated, wood, paper, chemicals, or some type of secondary packaging – like slip sheets.  Look around your business and start with the items that are filling your dumpster or your recycle bin. Start with one thing.
  2. What could we do with this?  Could we donate this material to an art class at a local school? Could we reuse it within our own operations? Could we get our vendor to take it back and reuse it when they ship us the next widget?  Could we buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging required to get this product into our company?
  3. How do we do it without disrupting the workflow? People – coworkers – and maybe even yourself are the biggest obstacle to recycling and other eco-friendly efforts.  Surprise – people don’t like change!  You have to make it easy and simple for people if they are going to consistently do something new. Additionally, you have to show the WHY – what is the payoff for the business or for them personally?  But – even with a big WHY – you will get much more excited adoption of the project if it is simple and easy.
  4. Start small and build. Don’t try to change everything at once – it won’t work.  Start with a small, easy, high value project and get a quick win.  Success breeds success – don’t be shy about publicizing the success.  Share it with employees and on your blog and social media so your customers can get into the process.  Build support for the first win, and the second one will be that much easier.
  5. Ask for Help. Other businesses (like Rose City Label) that may be a bit further down the path than you are HAPPY to help.  Contact your trash hauler, your local County or City government, and you vendors and customers.  Don’t be shy – every business started, and you can too.  Ask for help and let others give you guidance – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Once you have the GREEN mindset, this stuff will just come to you – really!  Once you look for it, and build it into your business DNA, it isn’t difficult.

Start today and take one small step – or better yet, call someone and let them guide you.  You will make progress quicker than you think, and before you know it, you will be helping others on their own eco-journey.  Just pick one small thing and start today – you can do it!

Easy Eco-Friendly Practices

Easy Eco-Friendly Practices

Some parts of being a ‘green’ business are very difficult and costly, but some aren’t.  By having a constant eye toward  reuse and recycling, you can make small steps that add up to big change for the planet over time.  This is one simple way that we helped to make the world more green.

A few years ago, we updated our logo and branding.  It isn’t a huge change, but we try to stay consistent and not use our old, outdated logo when we are dealing with customers.  Unfortunately, we also had a large inventory of note cards with the old logo –  we didn’t just want to throw them out.  Instead, we found an easy way to re purpose them.

  • First, we printed the new logo on the bottom of the cards using our office color laser printer

  • Next, we cut off the top half of the card.  Now instead of being a folded card, it is just a single flat note card – still big enough to write a simple ‘thank you’ to a vendor, customer, or friend.

  • Finally, we used the old ‘top half’ of the cards for scratch paper in the office.  They are  nice quality material, and they are perfect for writing notes within the office – nobody cares that there is an old logo printed on the back of a simple note.

This isn’t a huge step to stop global warming, but it is one simple, easy, free way that we can all make a difference.  More importantly, as we do more of these things and celebrate them within our company at staff meetings, the more we find new and different ways to make a difference.  It seems, we have found, that these ideas kind of feed on each other – one person learns from another, and before long, you are all working toward the important goal of making the world a greener place – one small step at a time.

Do you want help making your company more green?  We can help.

We are happy to provide resources and suggestions for any company that is trying to reduce their environmental foot print and become a better corporate citizen.  It takes all of us working together, so we are happy to lend a hand.  In the process, we will probably learn something from you, too!

Call us today – we are happy to help.