Alen Rokolj and Brian Schindel, co-owners of Vancouver-based Green Printer, say they conduct business differently from others.
“We don’t know of any other printer that turns work away,” says Schindel matter-of-factly.
Schindel recounts a recent meeting with a UBC rep who blurted, “Are you guys real?” This after Schindel and Rokolj advised their client not to print a 40-page report, suggesting they make it available online instead.
The reason for their seemingly bizarre business behavior is that the two men are seriously committed to curbing the huge impact of the paper industry on the environment—an industry that is the third largest polluter in the world, weighing in just after oil.
Green Printer may be the only printer in the world that offers strictly recycled paper options, with the majority 100 per cent post-consumer recycled.
“We refuse to print on any paper that we don’t feel comfortable with,” says Schindel, who was in software design for 10 years and has an environmental-awareness history going as far back as Clayquot Sound.
Both men are veterans in the printing industry. Rokolj, once a pre-press instructor at BCIT, was in charge of pre-press operations at a large print company when he met Schindel four years ago.
Their paths crossed when the company Schindel worked for at the time was a client of Rokolj’s.
“He was one of my most difficult clients,” jokes Rokolj.
As fate would have it, Schindel’s company bought out Rokolj’s printshop and the two found themselves managing the company side by side. It was during this time that they became acutely aware of the damaging aspects of printing.
From the destruction of virgin forests to the harmful effects of newsprint chemicals and inefficient technologies, Schindel and Rokolj saw much room for improvement.
What they didn’t expect was resistance on the part of their co-workers to adopt greener standards and practices.
“There was a lot of push back at the shop. They didn’t want to change. As GM I tried to force them to change, but once I left everything went back to the way it was,” explains Schindel.
The pair realized that in order to bring their vision to fruition they needed to start their own company. Choosing recycled paper translates directly into the preservation of trees. Green Printer’s goal, as stated on their website, is to save between 750,000 and 1 million trees over the next ten years.
Relying on their extensive knowledge of the industry and a wide skill set, they have set out on a mission far larger than one shop – they want to revolutionize the printing industry.
Green Printer recently launched a highly informative blog and website, complete with their own invention, an “Eco-calculator” which calculates the number of trees and the amount of wastewater, solid waste, CO2, and energy saved by printing on recycled paper. Clients can use the widget to track their environmental savings over multiple orders.
For other printing companies they designed a business management software that supports technologically advanced environmentally-friendly printing methods such as “gang printing,” which joins like orders together to save the waste involved in beginning any print job. The Green Printer software “will revolutionize the way jobs are managed and produced” says Rokolj.
Rokolj says there are many printers out there looking for the kind of software and expertise Green Printer has.
“We have a huge presence on the web and in Vancouver. They see how successful we are. There are people with a genuine interest in going green, so they are looking for us…”
The plan is to license the Green Printer name and essentially certify other companies as a “Green Printer.” In business for just one year, they have already serviced 1,800 clients.
Schindel and Rokolj realize that printing green is actually a necessity–the forests are limited. Recycled fiber can be used up to seven times before it loses its quality—that means seven times more forests for everyone to enjoy up to seven times longer.
To visit Green Printer’s website and blog go to Green Printer.