Shields Bag & Printing Co. has been a staple in Washington since its establishment in 1935 when Frank Shields opened a small print shop in Yakima. Frank and his sons built a commercial printing business before expanding into flexible packaging in the mid-1950s. Operating as a family-owned business for more than 75 years, the company provides a variety of high quality products from food packaging to heavy-duty bags.
Shields Bag & Printing Company’s full-color printing processes use solvent-based inks, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that in high quantities can be harmful if absorbed into the air. However, the company believes “that helping to maintain a healthy environment is one of our primary responsibilities.” In order to combat VOC emissions, the company has focused its resources in an energy-intensive combustion process called a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO). RTOs have 99 percent efficiency in destroying VOCs while recovering 97 percent of the heat generated in the process.
Shields Bag & Printing Co. implemented RTOs in August 2014 and is impressed with the benefits thus far. Although RTOs have significant initial capital costs, the potential for lower ongoing operating costs justify the investment. Most importantly, RTOs reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Shields Bag & Printing Co. estimates these new practices will save enough natural gas to heat more than 325 homes and enough electricity to power over 600 homes each year. The company expects to reduce carbon emissions by 1,500 tons each year while reducing nitrogen oxide by two tons.
The type of leadership shown by Shields Bag & Printing Co. has dramatically driven down CO2 emissions in Washington State. According to the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, emissions from the Industrial sector are now 21% below 1990 levels. This progress can be traced back to thousands of businesses that are committed to preserving the beauty of Washington for future generations.