Cincinnati Zoo Gets Greener, Adds Digital Color
“The Greenest Zoo in America” just got a little greener.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is now bringing its philosophy of sustainability to all of its in-house printing. In August, the zoo’s purchasing department, which handles the zoo’s internal printing, received FSC Chain of Custody Certification, following in the green footsteps of the zoo’s numerous solar panels, wind turbines, rain water collection, LEED buildings and transportation, and recycling stations located throughout the park.
Raymond Ulrich, director of purchasing, explains that with the March addition of a 75-page-per-minute Sharp MX7500 digital color printer, the department has been able to bring more of its printing in-house—jobs like invitations, park maps and handouts that are provided to visitors at the gate. But while the department had a strict requirement that all jobs printed outside must be FSC certified, those jobs produced internally lacked that certification; they were printed on FSC-certified paper, but it had not been purchased through the proper chain of custody.
To remedy the situation, Ulrich researched how the zoo could obtain its own certification. After reaching out to university in-plants that had achieved FSC certification, the department decided to collaborate with Printers Green Resource LLC and its InGreen group certification program for in-plants, which allows U.S. in-plants with annual print sales of less than $5 million to get FSC certified for a much lower rate. With InGreen’s assistance, Ulrich says, the process went much smoother than he initially expected.
“They spent a lot of time with us on the first couple phone calls going through PowerPoint presentations and explaining what we were going to be doing and going over the chain of custody,” Ulrich recalls. “The process was way less painful than I thought it was going to be.”
Ulrich says it took six to eight weeks to prepare for the audit. The department had to properly label the items in the warehouse and make sure FSC-certified papers were in a segregated area. A process was developed for receiving paper, tracking delivery tickets and creating tickets to be emailed to the end user.
He says that since receiving certification, the department has been pleased that it now falls in line with its previous policy and is maintaining the same green initiatives the zoo prides itself on.
“It closes the circle because it says to everyone internally that if we print it in-house we’re following the same guidelines we asked them to follow when we printed outside the park,” Ulrich says.
With the addition of the Sharp MX7500 to a department that also houses a Sharp MX-5111N and a Pitney Bowes DP40S, the shop can produce color work at a much faster pace, Ulrich says. Previously, the zoo had smaller Sharp color copiers and a large black-and-white machine.
“[Sharp] came up with a really good offer for us to switch out the black-and-white machine for a color machine that had more functionality,” Ulrich recalls. “The trade off being that we could print a lot of the jobs we were doing on the smaller machines a lot faster and take the benefit of being able to produce the maps and other things that we couldn’t do in house.”
The MX7500 has not only allowed the in-plant to bring more jobs in house. Ulrich says it has also made jobs that were already done in-house easier and more efficient. One example he points to is the production of 5x7˝ cards. Previously, Ulrich explains, the cards needed to be closely monitored because they were prone to shifting. The new Sharp though, eliminates that concern.
Though it’s been an eventful year for the department, Ulrich says he would strongly recommend other in-plants pursue FSC certification.
“I was really surprised at how easy it was to get it,” he notes. “It’s a lot of paperwork once you get it, but the actual process of doing it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”
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