Best in Show: This Dog is Paper Trained!

Best in Show: This Dog is Paper Trained!

SPD's 44th annual Gala was a great event, but how did this pedigree pooch stack up on the environment? Bred to win. Our secret?  By printing everything for Competition 44 on 100% recycled paper. We began by sniffing out the best printer for the job - searching for sustainability, without sacrificing quality.

With a strong recommendation from Transportation Alternatives, we selected Rolling Press. Based in Brooklyn, Rolling Press is a family-run offset print house that uses vegetable inks and wind generated power to run their presses. In addition, co-owner Eugene Lee is also a book designer and recognizes the importance design has on our lives as well as the environment.

Finding quality papers which are affordable and responsibly made used to be a challenge, but today there are more choices. We selected Neenah's Environment line for our invitations, an uncoated sheet which comes in whites and also a full line of colors. For the gala booklet, Eugene recommended New Leaf, a small paper company based in San Francisco, whose mission is to produce all paper in a sustainable manner. Other paper manufacturers carry a unique line of environmental paper, but at New Leaf, everything is made responsibly. The Reincarnation line is the only coated paper that is 100% recycled, processed chlorine free, ancient forest friendly, FSC certified and made with wind power. There's no other coated paper made so earth-friendly and so well. Its tactile, has a bit of a tooth, and is thicker than other papers of its weight, so you save a percentage by working with a lighter sheet without loosing the rich heavy feel.

Once the designs are complete they're sent to Rolling Press as PDFs.

Adobe's PDF system (portable document format)  has been praised by publishers who are committed to reducing their environmental impact, but not only because proofing and editing files as PDFs supports a paper free routing system, but because PDF files contain all the fonts and graphic elements within them, so there is no need to reflow text or upload fonts on the receiving side, PDFs also compress a lot data into relatively small file sizes.

Storing smaller files requires less energy, but how much less is difficult to determine. It has been said that storing 2 megabytes of data equals burning 1 pound of coal, but in 2003 this figure was recalculated at 20 megabytes. Although a megabyte to coal calculation seems unclear, what we do know is that 3% of the US electricity consumption is used to power the internet.

Once the files are received, Rolling Press skips the film process & goes directly from computer files to printing plates through a completely chemical-free computer-to-plate process. The plates are digitally imaged and then rinsed in a water bath which continues to be re-filtered in a tank - the only liquid being tap water.

The press room and bindery are located on-site which means this full service printing press runs like a small, powerful, efficient machine, by controlling scale, Rolling Press is able to achieve high quality with very little waste.  Everything is personally involved throughout the process, and by minimizing chemicals and replacing harmful ones with earth-friendly alternatives, this printing press pleasant and positive place to work. Even the egg cartoons used to sound proof the press room are made of recycled paper and come from an organic farm in upstate NY.  So thorough!

We were really happy with the results from Rolling Press, and so was Mother Nature, and look forward to our next project together.

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