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University of Arkansas In-plant Gets FSC Certified

March 1, 2012 By Bob Neubauer
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A few years ago chain-of-custody certification was all the rage in the in-plant community. Then the recession came along and spoiled everything. With budget cutbacks and print levels dropping, it seemed that being green was no longer a top priority.

But sustainability is slowly returning to the spotlight. One in-plant helping to put it there is University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) Printing Services. The operation recently attained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification from Bureau Veritas, becoming the first state printing agency in Arkansas to get FSC certified. 

Director Chuck Werninger felt it was important to demonstrate responsible stewardship, both to prospective students and to the community. 

“I want to be able to say, if you’re going to print something, let’s do it responsibly,” says Werninger, adding, “I know it’s the right thing to do.”

The certification is just the latest step the 11-employee in-plant has taken toward environmental sustainability. The shop has a waterless press, a chemistry-free platemaker and a digital printer (an Océ VarioPrint 6250) that boasts very low energy consumption. The in-plant also has a very active recycling program. 

“We’re reclaiming about three tons a month of manufacturing byproduct,” he reports.

FSC certification, Werninger says, has an added, more official element.

“We are able to document that we are doing the right thing,” he says.

Producing FSC-certified jobs does add extra steps, he notes.

“There’s a lot of paperwork that’s necessary to certify a print project,” he says. Still, the in-plant does not charge extra to customers who want their jobs certified. He acknowledges that customers have not exactly been beating down his door to request this, but he sees the in-plant’s certification as a proactive effort.

“When Arkansas and the government here starts asking questions about sustainability, and they look at their printing operation, I want them to know that we already built it, they just never told us to,” Werninger explains. 

Plus, he adds, it puts the in-plant in a great competitive position, which is important since the shop gets about two-thirds of its business from outside the university (i.e., other state agencies). 

 

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