Conquest Graphics is committed to being a green printing company offering our customers the highest quality printed products, at the lowest possible price – with the very smallest environmental impact. From the paper we use to the electrical engineering of our facilities and equipment, we strive to be as eco-friendly as possible.
We print a lot, and recycle a lot too! Many of the jobs we print are trimmed to size. The trimmed-off portion can not typically be used, so we recycle it. Based on calculations from Shred-it Corporation, we save about 6,500 trees each year as a result of our recycling initiatives. Of course, the less paper that is trimmed off, the less we have to recycle, so we are very careful to maximize every bit of the paper we work with. In fact, it’s one of the approaches we take to efficiency that allows for our prices to be so low.
As a part of our effort to reduce paper usage and waste in our internal administrative activities, we also save more than 30 trees a year by virtue of office paper recycling, and increased use of paperless communication methods.
In addition to the paper we collect and turn in for recycling, most all of the papers we use for printing are recycled papers.
Several years ago, when we began our search for a new location for our Richmond manufacturing facility, we made the decision to consider only those facilities that employed energy-efficient construction methods. Our current green printing facility is constructed entirely from brick, block, stone and concrete, which not only makes for a durable and energy efficient structure, but also is of renewable and recyclable materials. Our building also features a structural concrete roofing system, which helps reduce heat loss during the colder months, and helps regulate internal temperatures during the summer.
Before we moved into our facility, we replaced incandescent lighting with fluorescent lighting wherever possible. On our manufacturing floor, we replaced nearly two hundred 400 Watt metal halide lamps with newer, more efficient, and cooler-running 250 Watt bulbs. Then in 2011, we replaced all of the overhead lighting in our facilities with brighter, more energy efficient T8 fluorescent technology. The new T8 lighting is over 20% more energy efficient than the outdated T12 lighting we had in place. Plus, the T8 tubes are smaller in diameter, and use less material in their manufacture than T12 tubes. We also responsibly recycle the old T12 tubes, further reducing our impact on the environment. The bottom line is that we are constantly looking for and investing in new ways to reduce our consumption of energy resources, and leave a smaller environmental footprint. It's a long-term approach that benefits us all.
We replaced most of our aging HVAC systems with new units with a SEER (a measure of energy efficiency) of 14 or higher. We also captured and recycled all of the excess refrigerant that was removed from our old systems, and sent our old HVAC units to a recycler.
During the renovation process, we recycled construction materials whenever possible, and made extensive use of new, energy-efficient building and insulation materials.
Our commitment to green printing pushes us to look for eco-friendly alternatives throughout our process. In our pressroom operation, we use alcohol-free dampening solutions. We also recycle 100% of our excess paper. We use water-based, low-ammonia emission aqueous coating on most of our printed products, which helps reduce fingerprints and marking, and is also much more environmentally-friendly than competing coating methods.
In our prepress area, we have implemented a completely digital workflow, which allows us to operate without using photochemicals. We also recycle all of our used aluminum printing plates.
And we went a step beyond eco-friendly printing and looked at our business practices. We took a close look at our internal communication processes, and now have a paperless internal communication process.
As an eco-friendly printer, we are firm believers in the environmental advantages of digital printing. In addition to our full complement of multi-color offset presses, we also employ state-of-the-art, digital presses that utilize completely non-toxic, dry inks, and we recycle 100% of our waste colorants and developers.
Our digital presses run 80% quieter and use less electricity than an equivalent-sized, conventional press with an IR dryer. We also re-purpose nearly 30,000 BTU’s per hour of digital press exhaust heat back into our building during the winter months.
The big environmental advantage of digital printing comes from its ability to reduce overall material and energy consumption for printed materials, by printing only the quantity needed, when needed. Digital printing significantly reduces waste due to obsolescence. Also, by taking advantage of the personalization capabilities of digital printing, marketers can directly target their communications to recipients who are most likely to respond. This prevents mailings on a large scale where materials are sent to many people who likely have no interests, and may recycle the material, or throw it away and it goes to a landfill.