Blog : Banner Year for Eco-Friendly Riverworks Printing

By Herb | Mar 5, 2014 | in

BY HEIKKI (HERB) PERRY
Green Alliance Staff Writer

GREENLAND, N.H — Practicing sustainability as much as pursuing profits, a Seacoast company is trailblazing an ecological path for its industry.

Together, Riverworks Printing founder Jeff Cutter and print manager Danis Chamberlin have greatly impacted the large-format print industry with their green thumbs. Riverworks began its journey with the idea that individual passions like Cutter’s own for fly-fishing should be displayed and stored in photo form. Wall Shotz were the original frame-able works of art that resulted. The environmentally friendly fabric was designed to reflect the hobbies of customers in a clear, eye-catching manner.

Cutter sells images printed on Riverworks eco-fabric to fly fishermen who engage in a catch-and-release sport, enlarging the photos and manufacturing them with an adhesive so that they can be put up on their walls. They are repositionable: You can pull it off the wall in one place and stick it to the wall somewhere else, still sticking after hundreds of moves. Riverworks transforms the average photograph into a life-like masterpiece.

The eco-fabric wall decals are one of Riverworks’ most unique products and arguably its most important, said Chamberlin, also noting that they are non-toxic. “They are manufactured with no harsh chemicals or toxins, which means not using polyvinyl chloride, glycol ether, phthalates, or formaldehyde in the adhesive.”

 The product has passed the European REACH test. “REACH” is an acronym for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, a European Union regulation that addresses the production and use of chemical substances and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances.

“Being non-toxic,” Chamberlin said, “the eco-fabric wall decals are a great choice for not only kids’ rooms, but also any other room in your house. It is a polyester-based material and will biodegrade in 60 years, beating traditional vinyl materials by a long shot. We can print any art or photo on it as long as the resolution is high enough.” Typically a 2 megabyte file will produce a great 12-by-18-inch print.

Other uses for the eco-fabric wall decals include murals and wraps, laptop skins, and mouse pads and decals.

“We offer traditional media, too,” Chamberlin said. “Unfortunately, we can’t offer only-sustainable products. We have to straddle the gap, meaning that we also have to use traditional media as well in order to stay in business. Traditional media is not always so eco-friendly, but we try to lessen their negative impact by repurposing them and recycling them.”

Riverworks Printing also manufactures magnetic car stickers for windows and bumpers. They can be placed on the side of vehicle and displayed as a logo that, for example, could include telephone and Web site information. “It’s a great temporary thing,” said Chamberlin. “It’s really versatile signage for people.”

In keeping with Riverworks’ environmentalism, its magnetic products use 15 percent consumer recycled materials. Riverworks returns any remaining magnets to MetalWave, which recycles a wide range of products. “I’m willing to take them back here if the customers bring them back,” Chamberlin said about the magnets.

Like MetalWave, Riverworks Printing is a Business Partner of the Green Alliance, a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices and a green co-op offering discounted green products and services to its members.

Biodegradable banners are made of Bioflex. And while Riverworks does use polyvinyl chloride in its banners, in landfill conditions (darkness, high heat, moisture and lack of oxygen), Bioflex attracts microbes that utilize polyvinyl chloride as their food source, breaking down the PVC within three to five years.

Riverworks outsources its small format printing for products such as business cards, brochures and post cards. For clients who want an eco-friendly choice, Riverworks uses a local vendor, Monadnock Paper, which produces locally sourced, Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, 50 to 100 percent of it post consumer waste.

“It’s fascinating and exciting to have a local chain and products,” Chamberlin said, noting that one of Monadnock’s papers comes from a New Hampshire mill that processes wood only from local forest stands. In fact, company is a leader in sustainability measures, explaining in company literature that “[a]ll of Monadnock's products are manufactured carbon neutral (VERs) with 100 percent renewable electricity (RECs).”

“I am looking for new stuff all the time,” Chamberlin said about eco-friendly printing products. “It’s a fast evolving industry. We are now experimenting with paper made from stone. We had been using paper that was made of corn, but there was no consumer demand. The demand needs to come from consumers in order for companies that make the product to be profitable. But rest assured, as an eco-friendly production studio, Riverworks Printing always seeks products and processes that are sustainable.”

For more information about Riverworks Printing, visit www.riverworksprinting.com

For more information about MetalWave, visit www.metalwaveinc.co

For more information about the Green Alliance, visit www.greenalliance.biz