Rose City Label Co Earns Honorable Mention in 2021 FTA Sustainability Excellence Awards

Rose City Label Co in Portland, OR earned an Honorable Mention for Sustainability Programs for in the 2021 FTA Sustainability Excellence Awards for its water-wash printing plates and converting to a 100 percent wind-powered facility.

Rose City Label prints all types of custom labels for bags, boxes or bottles. With its new water-wash plates, the company says it has eliminated plate making chemistry—no more solvents, and no more costly solvent recycling. No solvents in plate making and no fossil fuels used to generate electricity help make the company more sustainable. Plus, the plates have no swell and are ready to go on press faster than before.

Inspecting a water-wash plate
Photos courtesy of Rose City Label Co

“A few years ago, we needed to upgrade our plate system,” says Scott Pillsbury, president of Rose City. “Our equipment was old, and our local solvent recycling company was closing. We went to All Printing Resources Inc and it provided an excellent option for us. There is always a learning curve with any new technology, but we were up and making excellent plates very quickly.”

When it came to the wind power conversation, Rose City was inspired after attending a “green business” conference in Portland and learning about other businesses. After investigating several possibilities, including solar power on its roof and different wind power options, Rose City signed up with a program through Portland General Electric. “The cost was quite reasonable, and the transition was totally painless,” notes Pillsbury.

Rose City had started with a local county environmental certification and then moved onto the TLMI LIFE program, and then finally became the first TLMI LIFE company to upgrade to Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) certification, the company said. “At each step of the journey, the bar was raised, and we had to adapt,” remarks Pillsbury. “Now sustainability is baked into our culture and people expect that we will be doing more improvements over time. Because we have been doing this as a major focus for over 10 years, now all the easy stuff is done. New programs are either very expensive, or disruptive. We are still looking for ways to improve as they come along.”

Water-wash plate equipment

The company said it has had a great response from its customers and vendors. Its goal is to be an example to show that even relatively small converters can make a difference.

“There are many political discussions about climate change, but at the end of the day, everyone should agree that we can all do something to make our business and our community better,” says Pillsbury. “We all need to make money, but if we can do that in a more responsible way, I am all in.”