Sustainability Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sustainable Printing Company


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.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

Leave a Comment:

Frank Delaware says April 20, 2017

Thank you for all this great information about choosing a printing service. One thing that really stood out to me is that you say to make sure that they use the best paper. It would be nice to know that you will be able to get the best paper for your documents.

Marcus Coons says July 28, 2017

Thank you for talking about how it is important to make sure you choose a printing company that uses the right type of paper for your needs. I can see how anyone looking into this would help you get quality services and advertise your business properly. Personally, I would want to compare several companies and read online reviews in order to find the best printing company in my area.

Ashley Maxwell says March 30, 2018

Thanks for your comment about how printing services should have sustainable links. I also like how you said that it should definitely not be printing hazardous waste wither. If a business was looking into a print shop or printing services, I would assume that they would keep your post in mind.

Angel Bogart says February 14, 2019

I love the idea of green printers counting their carbon footprint. If you cannot go totally paperless in publishing, it is worthwhile to consider greener printing technologies. I’m sure people would be more open to waterless printing, computer-to-print technology, and auto clean to help save on energy and preserve Mother Earth.

printlandokhla says November 23, 2019

Great post! Thanks for sharing very powerful post.

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