Monday, July 20, 2009

The state of green printing: An interview with Livio Ciciotti of Monroe Litho

As part of our efforts to promote green printing, we continue to closely follow the printing industry, keep you posted with printers who have already adopted eco-friendly practices in their business and speak with them on the state of green printing, the trends, the challenges in the present and their plans for the future.

We posted already two interviews with green printers (Greg Barber and Deb Bruner) and today we are happy to have another green printer on our blog: Livio Ciciotti of Monroe Litho (Rochester, NY).

Livio Ciciotti is an Account Executive with Monroe Litho based in Rochester, NY. He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of P
rint Media. He has been invloved in printing since high school. Livio is also in the Marine Corps Reserve, an honor graduate from the School of Infantry he now serves with 3rd Battalion 25th Marines out of Buffalo, NY and is preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Hi Livio. Can you tell us please what makes Monroe Litho a green printer?

Monroe Litho is sus
tainable through many different ways. Since 2006 we have been 100% wind powered; we hold certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) in addition to having over 52 internal sustainability initiatives.

Press operator Dave Ames looks over a press sheet. Dave has over 25 years experience in the printing industry (Photo courtesy of Monroe Litho)

What's the current state of green printing? what's the impact of the economic environment on both your efforts and on the customers' willingness to go green?

Green printing is on the move, and in an upward direction. At this current time people want green initiatives but are seeking education on
what is available to them and how they can make a difference in the environment.

The economy has slowed the printing industry as a whole, which in turns poses a challenge in marketing sustainable options in any arena. More and more customers are looking for ways to become more green but are shying away due to the misconception that it costs more; and with companies cutting back budgets we find ourselves educating a lot of the time on sustainability and how it doesn’t necessarily have to cost more and a lot of times can actually cost less.

What's the most common sustainable practice/s you're using?

Most requests we receive are to use FSC certified paper or paper that contains recycled content. Everyday we utilize wind power and recycling efforts throughout the company as well as strategic workflow processes throughout the manufacturing plant to make producing a project more efficient. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership is quickly becoming more popular through our education to customers as well.

A sheet is pulled from the Heidelberg 6-color 28” x 40” Series CD 102 w/aqueous coater and extended delivery which uses spectrophotometry to analyze press sheets (photo courtesy of Monroe Litho)

Who are the customers that are asking for green printing? can you characterize them?

Customers who most commonly ask for green printing would have to be colleges, environmental groups and Fortune 500 companies will sustainability initiatives. We have had companies contact us from as far away as London inquiring about our sustainable practices. That’s the great thing about sustainability; anyone can be a part of it, it’s for the global community and here at Monroe Litho we strive to make a difference everyday.

FSC or SFI - What certification is more popular now?

FSC I would say is more popular. FSC is not only used on paper, you see it on doors in Lowe’s Home Centers; you see it on lumber for building houses. FSC is more popular but I think that more people are learning more about both and be able to recognize them and what they stand for.

Jose Garcia transports waste paper to an area to be collected and later taken to a recycling center. Recycling waste paper was one of the first initiatives adopted by Monroe Litho (photo courtesy of Monroe Litho)

What's the most significant value your customers are looking for in integrating sustainable practices in the products they buy from you?

Our customers want the value of sustainable printing but do not want to sacrifice in the area of quality and here at Monroe Litho we have been doing both for a lot of customers. We have changed processes and workflows to better accommodate jobs that maybe print on a paper that contains 30% post consumer waste recycled content or 100%pcw. The higher you go with recycled content the more difficult it becomes to maintain that high level of quality.

Our staff here at Monroe Litho has worked very diligently not to sacrifice that quality, especially in the pressroom; our press operators not only are highly experienced but are great when it comes to having a customer in for a press check.

How expensive it is now for your customers to go green? what have changed in the premiums they need to pay for using FSC or recycled paper?

Going green doesn’t necessarily have to be any more expensive; and in fact, here at Monroe Litho we have looked down many avenues to try and make printing green less expensive. For instance, we introduced a house sheet program where we buy paper in bulk at a discounted rate and then pass that savings on to our customers. This sheet is named Sustineo, meaning to sustain in Latin and is both FSC and SFI certified also boasting 10% post consumer wasted recycled content.

What is the most significant obstacle for your customers to go green?

The most significant obstacle is getting past that common misconception that it costs more, that they will lose quality and that it won’t look as nice on uncoated or recycled paper. We find ourselves sometimes being the educator, letting people in on what they can do for the environment and for generations to come; and that it doesn’t cost them any more money.

What is the feedback you're receiving from customers who go green? do they see any benefits from it from their customers in terms of branding, marketing or sales?

Our customers are raving over the finished projects. They love the fact that they too can do something for the environment and they don’t sacrifice quality, service or price. Everyone is seeing the value in going green; we print for many large companies like, Bausch & Lomb and Mercedes-Benz; both take advantage of the sustainability benefits of printing with Monroe Litho.

If you could send a message to other printers that consider becoming green printers, what that message would be?

Remember that there isn’t one singular solution to becoming green. It is a journey that takes time, you cannot become green or sustainable over night. I would suggest starting with smaller steps first, make them success stories, and then move onto larger ones. This all started for Monroe Litho many years ago, we didn’t get to where we are now over night.

We have a sustainability committee that meets every month to discuss new projects. We have a Vice President of Quality Assurance and Sustainability Initiatives who spearheads all of our projects. But none of the things we do today to be sustainable who have happened if we didn’t take those first small steps in the beginning.

I would also offer to any printers looking to do this to get all of your employees involved. Make all of them a part of the effort. Its contagious, sustainability is a culture within our walls and we are all proud to be a part of it.

Thank you Livio and good luck with your upcoming service! You can learn more about Monroe Litho at their website -

More links:

The State of Green Printing - Part 1 - an interview with Greg Barber of Greg Barber Company (January 15, 2009)

The State of Green Printing - Part 2 - an interview with Deb Bruner of Pinnacle Press (March 18, 2009)

Green printing tools and resources -

Raz @ Eco-Libris
www.ecolibris. net