Printed materials are such a critical part of our lives. When you think of it nearly everything is printed – magazines, newspapers, menus, brochures, flyers, business cards, corporate documents, general forms… the list goes on and on.
If you are a business it is very likely that you outsource your corporate printing needs (stationary, brochures, reports etc.) to a commercial printing company. That’s great and cost efficient, but what about the impact to the environment?
Figuring out which printing company is greener than the next is complicated but here are some things you should investigate when choosing a sustainable printing company.
1. Sustainable Inks
Traditional printing inks have a significant impact on the environment. Most printers continue to use these inks as the print quality tends to be better than more sustainable alternatives. But this is rapidly changing. Where possible check if your printing company has the option to use vegetable or UV light inks.
2. Substrate loss
It is estimated that up to 30% of a print run can be lost because of over-runs and off-cuts. It is worth checking with your printing company to see that they have a policy to reduce unnecessary waste. The key areas to probe are: What is the printer’s policy for overs (additional runs that printers do to avoid having to do reruns)? 2 How do they choose paper size to reduce trim and area loss? 3. Whether they use automatic nesting software to reduce trim loss?
3. Hazardous waste
Hazardous wastes, like printing wipes, are common in the industry. It is worthwhile checking that your printer has a procedure and policy to deal effectively with hazardous wastes
4. Sustainable printing papers
Not all papers are equal. Recycled paper is the most sustainable but the performance is often not adequate. The best alternative is FSC and PEFC papers. Make sure your printer offers these types of papers for your printing needs
5. Carbon footprinting and energy management
Printing is very energy intensive. The most sustainable printers actively manage their energy consumption and carbon footprint. Check with your printer to see if they measure and manage their carbon footprint.
Rock star characteristics
There are a number of other characteristics that the leading green printers have. For example, new technologies like waterless printing, CTP technology that doesn’t require the use of developer and automatic cleaning on commercial printing devices are a few that come to mind.
Online printing is another option that can deliver sustainability benefits in terms of reduced travel and carbon neutral shipping. Finding the most sustainable and best online printing in UK and further afield should be a lot easier if you use the tips outlined above.
Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.