Are you wondering about printing’s environmental impact? Trying to make your company’s printing process more eco-friendly? We’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about green printing and environmentally friendly printing practices.
Environmental Issues With Traditional Printing
Printing has not always been known for environmentalism. Offset printing, the process in which plates are covered with ink, traditionally used solvent-based inks and cleaners which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment. The printing process uses a lot of energy, which frequently comes from non-renewable and polluting sources such as coal, and can produce wasted materials. There’s a lot of room for improvement here!
5 Environmentally Friendly Printing Practices That Make Printing Greener
Happily, printing is getting greener all the time. Here are the top 5 methods that are changing the game.
Creating Less Waste
The less material that goes in the trash, the better. Digital printing is already almost waste-free, and there are many methods to produce less waste with offset printing. For example, printers can mix their ink for small offset printing runs; if a press operator needs just a few ounces of a specific color, they can make that color themselves instead of ordering larger amounts from an ink company. This conserves both money and materials.
Using digital print on-demand services also hugely reduces waste. Printing small batches to order leads to less unused materials and increased flexibility. It’s a win-win for both you and the environment!
Conserve and Use Cleaner Energy
One of the best ways to help the environment is using renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biogas, a renewable fuel produced by food and animal waste. These sources don’t release pollution and keep our planet cleaner. Some printers are switching to cleaner energy sources.
Whether they’re using renewable energy or not, many printers now consume less energy. Digital printing is already a low-energy process, and there are eco-friendly printing presses. Look for a printer that uses Energy Star-certified or low-power digital presses. Some printing presses even recycle heat used in the printing process to preheat the paper, further reducing energy use.
Using ground shipping whenever possible is another great environmentally friendly printing practice that reduces energy use. This requires less energy than shipping by plane, making it a more eco-friendly way to get your printed products where they need to go.
Using Fewer Chemicals
Nowadays, printers can use ink with fewer chemicals. Some offset printers now use soy and vegetable-based inks rather than oil-based inks. Some digital printing presses, such as KonicaMinolta, now use biodegradable toner made from plant-based materials. Fewer chemicals is better for the environment!
Using fewer chemicals doesn’t stop with ink. Some printers use a chemistry-free metal plate machine to make plates for offset printing. Older equipment produced liquid waste that needed professional reprocessing, but some newer equipment does not produce any toxic byproducts.
Recycling More Products, More Often
Recycling is vital in all sectors, but it’s essential in the printing business. These days, you can print on more types of recycled paper available than ever before. From 10% and 30% to 100% post-consumer waste papers to alternate papers made of hemp, straw, or recycled cotton, there is always a recycled paper that works for you and your budget.
However, using recycled paper products is only half of the equation: it’s also important to recycle your own waste! Paper waste and cardboard can, of course, be recycled, but did you know that many other printing materials such as metal printing plates and digital toner cartridges are also recyclable? Talk to your printer about which items they recycle and why. Their answers might surprise you!
Increased Knowledge and Resources
As more people understand the need for environmentally friendly printing practices, printers have moved with this tide. Your printer should be able to answer all your questions, explain their eco-friendly practices to you, and give you information that helps you print in an eco-friendly way. If you have any questions about how to make your printed materials greener, ask your printer!
Work With An Eco-Friendly Printer!
At The Print Authority, our passion for green printing guides our printing process and our business. In addition to employing all of the environmentally friendly printing practices described above, we also run on 100% renewable energy. We are at the forefront of green printing! When you’re ready to work with a green printer with decades of experience, contact us to get started.