Screen Printing - April/May 2018 - 27
Modernistic offers clients sustainable and recyclable alternatives to standard substrates, such as styrene [left]. The company reduces waste at
the packaging stage with a box-making machine [right].
Modernistic has been able to make quite an impact with these
incremental improvements over time.
Schulte says recycling is the most noticeable sustainability
activity throughout Modernistic's facility, but you can find other
innovative ways the company has lessened its environmental
impact if you know where to look. For example, instead of
producing displays from corrugated metal or solid wood, they
offer customers an option made of recyclable styrene, corrugated
to look like metal or printed with a wood-grain pattern, and run
through a heat bender to add structure and rigidity. Not only does
this reduce shipping weight; it makes life easier on installers, too.
Modernistic also selectively screen prints adhesives instead
of using laminates across an entire surface, eliminating the
waste of the film and reducing the amount of adhesive used.
Other ways of reducing environmental impact include using an
in-house box maker and pushing sales of sustainable substrates.
"I wish I could do more," Schulte says in the spirit of any
leader striving for perfection, "but we do what we can."
Envision TEEs: sTarT small
As Tom Rauen's basement business grew into a two-facility
screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products
operation, he realized his company was having a bigger and
bigger impact on the environment. The CEO of Envision Tees
(Dubuque, Iowa, envisiontees.com) is a trail runner and calls
himself a big outdoors person.
"I enjoy being in nature, and I want that to be around for
my kids and grandkids to enjoy, as well," he says.
So he began taking a look at how Envision could reduce
its effect on nature, starting with an energy audit with
the local utility company. Envision installed sensors in
the light switches in every room to conserve power. They
began reusing boxes, packing materials, reject prints,
and more. Some of the changes were as simple as being
mindful enough to turn off all the computers at the end of
the day. Some were as monumental as installing 72 solar
panels, which Rauen estimates offsets about 40 percent of
their energy use.
"You can start small," he says. "Shut off your computers
at night. That's saving energy; that's helping the environment;
that's reducing your electrical costs." Envision is looking into
formalizing its sustainability efforts with a local certification,
but being conscientious is where it starts. The company uses
soy-based chemicals, and they offer an organic shirt option
made by Royal Apparel from recycled plastic.
Envision prints for a wide customer base, serving corporations, events, schools, and so on, but they also work with a
number of eco-conscious companies that don't mind spending a little more. A new project Envision has in the works for
later in 2018 is Driftless Brand (driftlessbrand.com), a line
of US-made, organic cotton shirts for which a portion of the
profits will be donated to trail conservation.
Envision Tees altered many of the shop's processes with an eye toward becoming environmentally responsible, including reusing boxes and
packing materials, and installing sensors on light switches. Right: One big change Envision made: 72 solar panels on the roof, a move that offsets
about 40 percent of the company's energy use.
april / may 2018