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Ask The Green Mama: A truly greener printer?

Dear Green Mama: I am interested in being more green at work and want to get green business cards, however I’ve heard that even a “green” printer might still use toxic chemicals.  Do you know a truly green printer?

Bob "Green"

Dear Mr. Green: Funny you should ask, I just went through a very similar process.  I finally decided to invest in postcards and new business cards and I decided that recycled paper and soy ink wasn’t enough. I must admit, however, I didn’t know much about what enough would be.  Many printers now offer recycled papers and soy inks (although many still do not), however few printers are going the extra mile and also reducing the overall VOCs in their inks, solvents, and finishes.  Even fewer are providing a healthy working environment for their employees, paying a living wage, and doing the printing on American soil.  I did find a local printer, however, that does all of this and more.  In fact, they are so green that I was encouraged to bring along my two-year-old daughter for the tour.  I was amazed.  The place smelled like frenchfries (they reuse vegetable grease from fryers for some of their cleaning processes) and from start to finish they are VOC -free (and so non-toxic that much of what they use is actually edible, like the SPAM used instead of petroleum oils for lubricant).  The place was sun-lit, free of smells, and the workers were eager to show off the different machines and processes that they were testing for national models. They have won many awards for their green innovations, including one from the EPA as the “Illinois’ First Great Printer.” For those living in Chicago, I recommend you visit Consolidated Printing and get a tour.  For others, visit them on-line.