W-Earthy Tips

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It’s Earth Day here and around the world and we have many things to share and celebrate at Widen on this very important day!

Did you know? Earth Day was founded over 40 years ago by Wisconsin-born Senator Gaylord Nelson. John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club and Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac, also have Wisconsin roots we’re proud to share.


Now for a little Widen history...

In the words of our CTO Gary Norris, it is much better to use bits (web) versus atoms (physical media). Credit Nicholas Negroponte. Over the years, the amount of gasoline, vehicles, paper, and polluting chemicals we have saved through conservation as a culture at Widen is staggering. Everything our software does helps the Earth. Not only have we saved resources in our company, but we have enabled hundreds of thousands of customers to save resources as well.

Just two decades ago, printing orientation was the order of the day! Presses used ink, paper, chemicals, fuel to transport the raw paper and then the finished printed piece.

In 1995, Widen had six imagesetters that ran film and chemicals to process the silver based film. All are long gone.

We had two digital presses and one conventional press. All are long gone.

We moved from conventional printing to digital platemakers and the original Heidelberg GTO which made the plates. All are long gone.

We had delivery trucks for the local clients. All long gone.

We had an outside sales staff that had company cars and we drove or flew frequently to meet with potential and current clients. It’s different now.

We started writing software in 1995 which has since supplanted printing for a lot of marketing needs. Not only have we saved on consumables in our company, but we have enabled hundreds of thousands of customers to save as well.

We’re very proud of our history and experiences over our 67 years in business, yet it’s the environmentally-responsible and sustainable moves we’ve made that we’re most proud of. On a personal note, our CEO has planted 27,000 trees!


W-Earthy Tips and Takeaways

To celebrate Earth Day, we’re delighted to share a few “W-Earthy Tips and Takeaways” from our team on how anyone can help save, preserve and honor mother nature.

Daily habits:

  • Turn off the water running when brushing your teeth.
  • Use reusable lunch bags instead of paper sacks and plastic baggies.
  • Try Meatless Mondays to help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.
  • Use cloth napkins, washcloths, and cloth towels instead of paper towels.
  • Compost your fruit, veggies, egg shells, and coffee grounds.
  • If you’re not going to use your computer overnight or over the weekend, turn your machine and monitor off.
  • Use timed lights and dimmers.
  • Use cardboard or paper-based cushion instead of foam or packing-peanuts for shipping.  
  • Only print items that really need to be printed. Most things are viewable on screens.
  • Use manual tools when practical to avoid needless use of fossil fuels and energy. Like using a rake for your leaves versus a leaf blower.
  • Ride a bike or walk when possible. This is better for both your health and the environment!

Other thoughts on cars and trucks (and more):

  • Keep your tires inflated, car tuned up and don’t haul stuff needlessly – this uses more gas.
  • Combine as many trips as possible before heading out to avoid going back and forth.
  • Daily commuters can use 4-cylinder sedans instead of SUVs and trucks, for the daily commute.
  • Community car services can provide pickups to keep people from needing to buy them and drive them daily. 
  • Similar to gas mileage meters, cars can calculate how much money in gas they are using. This makes people more aware of how much they are idling necessarily.
  • Don’t warm up your car in the morning for more than 2-3 minutes in the winter. No need to warm it up in the spring, summer, and fall.
  • Turn off your engine and don't let it idle when dropping your kids off at school or waiting in line at the bank.

Consumer considerations:

  • Switch out incandescent or fluorescent (mercury) light bulbs for LED light bulbs.
  • Only upgrade your electronics (phone, computer, screen) when you really need to.
  • Recycle by buying used appliances such as crock pots and toasters.
  • Use grocery sacks again or purchase cloth ones.
  • Drink water and avoid bottles or reuse them.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!


Nearly everything you purchase eventually ends up in a landfill. Only buy what you need – don’t consume needlessly. Most energy comes from burning fossil fuels in some manner so try to use less.

At least one of our employees uses an electricity usage monitor to see how efficient electrical devices are. You can find out exactly how much your refrigerator uses per day, or how much energy your microwave uses when not in use.


A Few Parting Thoughts

Listen to nature – Mother Nature has been around for billions of years, mostly without humans. She will go on with or without us. Watch these short videos to hear a different perspective on the environment—it's not about saving nature. It's about saving ourselves.

Shop sustainably – With environmental issues as big as the ones we're facing, it's hard to imagine how one small personal action can make a difference. But as consumers, we can demand that companies act responsibly. Research the products you buy and make the choice to support companies who make environmental sustainability part of their everyday business practices. For example, Starbucks announced last week that their coffee is now 99% ethically sourced, which means it's good for people and the planet. Workers are paid fair wages and forests aren't cut down to grow coffee. So when you buy a cup of Starbucks coffee or another product from a socially responsible company, you're helping to do good.

Watch what you eat – The number one cause of deforestation is expansion of agricultural land, including cattle ranching and palm oil production. You can help by reading labels and boycotting products that contain palm oil (beware, there are lots of names for it!) or by making the choice to skip meat one day a week.

Donate to environmental organizations – Many of the problems affecting our environment are too big for us to solve on our own. Donating to a non-profit organization like Conservation International or World Wildlife Fund can help to solve those large-scale problems. These organizations are using science and research on the ground around the world to effect change where it's most needed.

If you have a tip, link or an activity that helps make our world a better place, we welcome you to share via the comments below or tweet us @WidenEnterprise. Thank you!

If you’ve read this entire post, we invite you to contact us to request a reusable Widen water bottle! Since installing our Elkay Water Fillers just over a year ago, we’ve been able to save nearly 15,000 disposable plastic bottles from being used / recycled.

Widen water bottle shot overlooking Lake Atitlán in Guatemala

Topics: Culture & Company

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