Production Ways to Go Green
Once your list has been scrubbed clean of dupes, nixies and undeliverables, modeling and segmentation will help you further refine your file, and improve the chances that your mailings are getting to the people who are most likely to respond.
Over the last few years, L.L. Bean has made a strong commitment to list hygiene, asserts Beem. This has allowed it to better target its customers and reduce the number of catalogs it mails per household—a win both for the environment and its production and postage costs.
Less Is More
Another place you can trim is in your trim, size that is. For the past 10 years, L.L. Bean has been testing smaller trim sizes, which has significantly reduced its trim waste, attests Beem.
Consumers Union has found success testing smaller formats as well, according to Meta Brophy, the nonprofit's associate director of publishing operations. By conducting a number of internal audits, Consumers Union was able to reduce the size of the paper rolls it uses, thereby reducing trim waste, and was able to reduce the size of its blow-in and bind-in cards and envelopes. These minimal changes equal only fractions of an inch on each piece, but the savings add up quickly.
"It doesn't sound like much, reducing, say, an eighth of an inch," contends Tom Estock, corporate manager of environment and safety at Sussex, Wisc.-based printer Quad/Graphics. "But on a large run, that can add up to thousands and thousands of pounds of paper that you're saving."
But smaller isn't automatically better—it can just lead to more trim waste. Work with your printer to determine the sizes that make optimal use of the press sheets it uses for your jobs, suggests Estock. And, of course, you'll want to test to make sure a smaller size doesn't have a negative effect on response.