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Smock Letterpress: Style & Sustainability

February 9, 2010

kurai top, sabion bottom, via Smock

I’ve always loved Snow & Graham‘s calendars, so I was excited to learn that one of the company’s co-founders, Amy Graham Stigler, is the designer behind the eco-friendly letterpress printer Smock. I had high expectations for Smock but I have to admit, their designs and commitment to the environment met those expectations and perhaps even exceeded them.

Smock produces really elegant letterpress stationery for weddings and other social occasions. They are the only printer in the U.S. to use luxury bamboo paper, which they developed with a European paper mill. Bamboo is better than cotton or wood because it grows fast (can be harvested every 3-5 years) and doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers. Here are some of their other environmental initiatives:

We use only vegetable-oil based and low-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) inks. We use low-VOC and citrus-based solvents. We recycle our photo chemistry, film, paper offcuts, and photopolymer printing plates. Empty ink cans and old rags are kept out of landfills. In our break room and our offices, we recycle and compost our waste. We use recycled packaging materials and reuse packing materials and corrugated that our vendors send us. We donate surplus paper and envelopes once a year to our local public schools. We reuse paper scraps for office notes. Our retail packaging is biodegradable, tree-free, and petroleum-free. We package our custom work in keepsake boxes made here in Syracuse from 100% post-consumer recycled materials.

We work to reduce our carbon footprint. We are entirely wind-powered through Native Energy. Working with the Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program, we’ve “zeroed out” our business’s carbon footprint by planting trees. We offer bus passes to employees to encourage public transportation usage. Also for our employees, we subsidize 20-week Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships with a local organic farm, because we believe our food shouldn’t have to travel 1,500 miles to reach us.

Not to mention, the designs are beautiful . . . I love the colors and patterns. So cool! They also donate 1% of sales to 1% for the planet and if you choose to donate a tree with your order, they’ll match your donation. I particularly love that they give to local schools and promote their employees to join CSAs and ride public transportation. Smock’s studio is located in Syracuse, New York, which isn’t the first place you might think of when you think green so I think it’s great they try to be involved in the community.

I am so excited to see this kind of commitment to sustainable practices. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming but with companies like Smock, it is easier than ever to have a green wedding or any special occasion. Check out some Valentine’s Day cards and take a peek at their inspiring blog.

images via Smock

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