Tips for 'Greening' Your Nonprofit Practices
Organizations also should look to use recyclable contents beyond just paper. Poly windows on outer envelopes, for example, are not recyclable. But there are alternatives. Paper-based glassine is organic and biodegradable, and has the similar effect of a poly window.
Soy and vegetable inks also are more eco-friendly and easier to recycle than regular, petroleum-based inks. Zaleski said these options are widely available; it's just a matter of asking your vendor for them. Asking, she said, is the first step to greening your organization and getting vendors to adjust the options they offer.
4. Formats and production practices. To reduce its environmental impact, NWF mails smaller formats (which helps with postage, too); uses less, or smaller-sized, inserts; uses lighter weight paper; and uses common size components like BREs.
When it comes to production, Zaleski said, every little bit helps. The organization tries, when it can, to use printers and mail shops in the same vicinity as one another to reduce the energy wasted in shipping. Meeting art and proofing deadlines also is important, Zaleski said, as production delays cost resources and money.
The organization makes it a point to add the "Recycle Please" icon to its direct-mail elements and, when applicable, adds copy letting recipients know elements were printed on recycled paper, e.g., "To conserve our resources, this is printed on paper containing a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste."
In conclusion, Zaleski stressed that nonprofits work with their vendors to select greener materials, formats and production processes. She recommended asking vendors the following questions:
- Are you FSC certified, or do you have other certifications that represent sound environmental practices?
- Do you use soy or vegetable-based inks?
- Does your house stock include options with recycled content?
- What types of recycling programs are run through your plant? Paper, solvents, plates, etc.
- Do you have any special shipping practices that cut down inefficiencies and waste?
- If you're an envelope printer, what options do you have for window material that are recyclable or biodegradable?