InfoGreen Information About KCLS
KCLS Print Shop Applies for FSC Certification
Motivated by a commitment to ensure the best possible use of natural resources, the King County Library System (KCLS) is applying to have its in-house print shop certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The certification will verify that print materials produced for our libraries adhere to the highest environmental standards. KCLS may be the first library system to gain this type of certification.
Forest Stewardship Council Standards
A nonprofit organization that advocates for the responsible management of forests, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has developed a set of standards to help ensure that forestry is conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. An increasing number of businesses and organizations that handle or process wood products are obtaining certification to show that they adhere to FSC standards. This essentially helps guarantee that harvesting wood from forests does not contribute to water pollution or the loss of habitat for animals, among other concerns. It is important to realize that due to the high demand for paper in the U.S., only about one-third of the paper supply is able to be produced with recycled materials. The remainder must be produced from new fiber.
Why this is Important to KCLS
As the second busiest library system in the U.S., KCLS’ in-house print shop produces a large number of materials for 43 community libraries. The library system is currently taking steps to ensure that many practices adhere to green standards. Called the FSC Chain-of-Custody Certificate, the certification will assure KCLS patrons and staff that each entity that handles the wood product is FSC-Certified, from the time it is harvested from the forest until it is turned into paper and delivered to the KCLS print shop.
The Certification Process
To certify various organizations and businesses, the FSC has identified third-party certifiers. KCLS will be working with a certifying agency called SmartWood. The certification process will take about six weeks to complete and the overall cost is anticipated to not exceed $5,000. The certification process includes an on-site audit to ensure that a tracking and handling system for the FSC-certified paper has been established. This requires that a section of the KCLS print shop is designated for storing FSC-certified paper, to separate it from non-certified paper. As part of the process, the amount of FSC-certified paper that is ordered will be increased, the cost of which is comparable to non-certified paper. The existing stock of non-certified paper will continue to be used until the supply is depleted. The FSC and SmartWood logos will be printed on any materials produced with FSC-certified paper.
Other Eco-Friendly Steps
Although not part of the FSC certification process, the ink that is used to produce many print materials for KCLS libraries contains 20 percent soybean content, a renewable resource. Also environmentally conscientious was the purchase of a new press that does not use many of the chemicals associated with conventional printing and has less paper waste.
Last Updated: April 8, 2008