Customers of Southeastern Printing have a unique opportunity to experience today what could be the future of eco-friendly label manufacturing across the board. The Stuart, Fla.-headquartered producer of film-based roll-fed, in-mold, and cut-and-stack beverage labels has so completely integrated "green" practices into its manufacturing processes, its customers can't help but come away with a finished product that has a reduced impact on the environment.
Indeed, some of these green practices, such as paperless quoting and proofing, and digital platemaking, are also the standard at many other label printing operations. However, Southeastern Printing—a 155-employee, 11-press (flexo and offset) printing operation with three U.S. production locations—takes these practices to the next level of eco-friendly thinking by implementing and packaging them as part of a comprehensive, concept-to-completion sustainable manufacturing program called Green ink®.
Established in 2007, the federally registered program addresses the more obvious targets within the label manufacturing process for environmentally responsible measures, such as the implementation of low-VOC inks—but it also incorporates the more obscure steps in production, such as the sending out of pressroom rags for removal of hazardous chemicals, and the limiting of deliveries to off-peak hours in order to reduce driving times and, subsequently, carbon emissions. "It is our responsibility to educate our customers about the green efforts and practices we employ from start to finish, so they have a greater appreciation of the 'green' product we have produced for them," says Don Mader, Southeastern's president and CEO.
In short, the Green ink program ensures customers are automatically steered toward production choices—including a roster of steadily more eco-friendly substrates—that conserve energy, water, and other natural resources; reduce waste; and prevent pollution. What's more, these choices have the potential to set customers themselves on a path to steadily stronger sustainability. At the completion of every job, customers are able to gauge their green performance through Southeastern's environmental benefits statement. According to COO Jack Mackert, the statement "gives Southeastern clients a quantifiable report, substantiating a stronger impact in their clients' eyes over mere environmentally slanted claims."