One reason many businesses hesitate to “go green” is because environmental responsibility seems too time-consuming and overwhelming. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that, with all of their other responsibilities, it seems like too much.
Just the thought of measuring the corporate environmental footprint—from measuring the carbon output of every office copier to the impact of the transportation methods of employees—is enough to send the poor manager tasked with the job into apoplexy.
But while “going green” may seem overwhelming, in reality, I see it as being a lot like my relationship with my dishwasher.
I work from home full-time, with two young children, assorted pets, a husband who also works at home, and live in mass chaos most of the time. The dishwasher is my lifeline to sanity. In an ideal world, I would wash all of the pots and pans by hand so I could fit in a lot more dishes and maximize efficiency. In reality, I throw in the pots and pans, and if that means I have to run the dishwasher twice a day sometimes, so be it.
My husband shakes his head. After all, I recycle my glass, plastic, and metal containers. I pack my groceries in cloth bags. I turn off the stove the last few minutes of cooking to eliminate unnecessary energy expenditure. Why would I be so wasteful in this?
But the fact is, the environmental issues we are facing aren’t because I run an extra load of dishes once in awhile. We face these issues because mankind corporately has ignored its environmental responsibility. Thus, the answer isn’t for me to force myself to wash every pot and every pan by hand every time—no matter what—as part of a legalistic torture. The answer is for individuals and businesses to make a corporate decision to start taking even small steps, one at a time.
To make a difference, you don’t have to convert to wind power, add solar panels, and purchase carpet made of hemp fiber. Maybe it’s as simple as being a little bit smarter and less wasteful in your next direct mail campaign. This might include the use of…
- inherently “greener” dry toner, liquid toner, and inkjet commercial print production.
- 1:1 (personalized) printing, which uses targeting to reduce the volume and wastefulness of print mailers.
- Web-to-print workflows, which increase relevance through customization (and, in some cases, true 1:1 personalization) and print-on-demand and just-in-time production.
- Smart use of databases, even in long-run offset, to reduce waste and increase the effectiveness of marketing projects.
There are lots of ways to slowly start building “greenness” into your print campaigns. And it doesn’t have to hurt.
Want to read more? Try these articles on “green” print design