We’re living in the so-called digital age yet the print industry continues to thrive. There’s nothing like flicking through a published glossy magazine, enjoying the full sensory experience of reading a book or receiving the keepsake of a special occasion card. It is important that where we continue to print, environmental concerns are considered. Take a look at five ways your printing business can be more environmentally friendly:
Choose Recycled or Sustainable Paper
Using recycled paper helps saves trees as it’s made from post-consumer pulp. Reducing deforestation reduces habitat loss for wildlife, and keeps more oxygen in the atmosphere. That’s not the only benefit. Recycling roughly one ton of paper reduces greenhouse gas emissions by one ton of carbon equivalent and saves around 7,000 gallons of water. By using recycled paper, you are doing your bit to help the environment. When choosing your recycled paper lookout for a manufacturer that used the highest percentage of recycled materials possible. Complete the cycle by reducing, reusing and recycling all used paper at your place of work too.
Without new fibres from new trees, the paper cycle cannot be maintained as recycled fibres degrade after several uses.
“A fibre can be recycled several times, yet not indefinitely, depending on the paper grade. Therefore, there is a continuous need to feed the inflow of recovered fibre with paper products made of virgin pulp. Paper recycling needs to continuously incorporate a certain amount of fresh fibres for three main reasons: strength, quality and availability.”
European Paper Recycling Council, 2017
When buying virgin paper, always make sure it is made with wood from sustainably managed forests. Look out for products that hold the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)”tick tree” logo for assurance. The FSC system allows businesses and consumers to identify, purchase and use wood, paper and other forest products made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources.
2. Environmentally Friendly Ink
Whether you’re a small or big business, eco printing is a step in the right direction to improve sustainability.
Soy-based ink is an amazing alternative that replicates the effects of petroleum-based inks but without the toxic side effects on the environment. It can produce brighter and more vibrant colours compared to other inks.
Another well-known eco-friendly ink hails from vegetables. However, unlike soy-based inks, it does not produce the same results as its soy counterpart and can be slightly more expensive.
Refillable cartridges produce less waste. If these are not available for your required ink, find out where your empty inkjet and toner cartridges can be recycled.
3. Reduce Waste
It sounds like an obvious solution but just taking extra care to reduce waste can help make your business more sustainable. It’s important to have the best quality control practices in place to minimise mistakes. Modern technology can revolutionise this for businesses. Vision inspection systems are being used to inspect products and make sure everything is perfect before printing begins or continues. Less waste is obviously better for the environment, but it has a positive financial benefit to companies too. Take a look at this website to find out more about using artificial intelligence and machine learning in your business.
4. Eco Packaging
To ensure your printing business is as green as can be, take a look at all the packaging being used throughout the company: from supplies you use to the packaging you send printed orders out in. Choose suppliers that use environmentally friendly packaging and reuse or bye eco packaging to send out orders.
5. Carbon OffSetting
In even the greenest of companies, it’s inevitable that there will be consequences for the environment. Consider carbon offsetting to cancel out the impact of carbon emissions produced. As long as this doesn’t replace making changes to make your company green then offsetting does have benefits: the sale of carbon credits produce a flow of money to developing countries to help them preserve carbon sinks and develop their economies along low-carbon lines.
We all need to make changes to help the environment, even in industries like printing, there are still lots of ways to make it as green as can be, which is what consumers want and the earth needs.
Read more Green Living posts.