As sustainability and environmental responsibilities importance continues to increase in the flexo printing industry it has become pertinent to not only make an effort to do your part but also to educate within the industry. Anderson and Vreeland has taken steps to help the industry with their Zero Waste to Landfills service and our partnership with Flexo Cleaners, however, one of the companies taking a leadership role in the movement in the converter and supplier industries is the Tag and Label Manufacturing Institute with their L.I.F.E. program.
TLMI started the L.I.F.E. or Label Initiative for the Environment program in 2009, as a way to help members to reduce their environmental footprint in a cost effective way. Since the beginning of the program they have become an industry leader in the green movement and have caught the support of influential sustainability leaders.
Certification for the L.I.F.E program usually takes around 7-8 weeks to complete and consists of 4 basic steps: recycle compatibility of adhesives, source and destination of liner material, material construction, and front of office issues. The steps in the program are designed to effectively improve the operations of the business from top to bottom while improving the companies on both an environmental and business basis, by doing things such as: reducing water usage, reducing air emissions, chain supply management/ reducing liability and risk, community acceptance, and reduced utility costs, to name a few.
The program manages to improve the operations of the companies participating by first developing a process flow for the facility, allowing companies to get a clear picture of their current environmental impact. They then determining priority actions, this is done to improve the facilities score and is different for each company. Next, the facility begins engaging in a formal initiative, this is the actual program that will be used to improve their performance. Lastly, you measure performance and continuous improve, the program end goal is for facilities to continually improve their carbon footprint. After the plan is put into action there is a third party inspection to assure the facility meets requirements, this score is based on: clean products techniques, energy and greenhouse gases, product design, and management practices (Environmental Management Systems). The third party inspection is completed assure that certification is verified and reliable, and customers, investors, and shareholders will take the improved environmental effort seriously.
With the program being conducted in such an effective manner,as well as, gaining such momentum during its first 3 years, the L.I.F.E. program has began to make some seriously headway in the industry while gaining some notable supporters. Through TLMI’s L.I.F.E. programs initiatives they have helped narrow web companies drive the recycling programs for the industries liner materials. The program has also gained the support of Jason Pearson, Former President and CEO of GreenBlue, a nonprofit sustainability institute whose projects include the renowned and respected Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), who says he is, “very impressed with the intelligent and balanced approach which TLMI has developed. This program provides a flexible, robust framework for encouraging continuous improvement.”
The progressive nature of TLMI’s L.I.F.E. program assisting the printing industry’s converter and supplier divisions in becoming a greener and more environmentally conscious industry, with flexible plans that make the course of action implemented as effective as possible. Through the continued initiative of the program and its participants, as well as, other programs that continue to arise, our industry will continue to better ourselves and reduce our environmental impact. For details about the L.I.F.E. program: http://tlmi.com/files/2012/04/Reformated-LIFE-Reference-Manual-Feb-2012.pdf or http://tlmi.com/files/2012/04/L.I.F.E.-Instructions-April-2012.pdf. For more information about the TLMI’s L.I.F.E. scoring: http://tlmi.com/files/2012/04/L.I.F.E.-Scorecard-December-2011.xls. L.I.F.E.-Certification-Process-Flow-Chart copy