Green Printing Services
Although the idea has been around for some time, transforming printing to make the printing process ‘greener’ has come into its own over the last decade. There are many ways to make the printing process greener and lessen its environmental footprint. These ideas range from changing the type of printing process itself, lessening the amount of printing, changing the types of papers or other materials being printed, altering ink or toner usage, and reusing or recycling byproducts of the printing process.
Our team at The Print Authority is actively engaged in reducing our environmental impact. We participate in conservation in the following ways:
- Minimizing paper waste
- Recycling any paper waste or obsolete paper material
- Recycling 100% of printing plates
- Use of a chemistry free plate making system which produces no toxic chemical byproducts.
- Using digital presses which are environmentally friendly. Most of our digital presses use minimal amounts of power and use biodegradable toner.
- Using digital processes where possible to minimize the creation of unnecessary inventory which may be obsolete at a later date. This type of just in time inventory control minimizes waste and expense for clients.
- Use of soy & vegetable-based inks for offset printing processes.
- Actively promoting the use of recycled paper products wherever possible. Our standard coated digital papers and non-coated cover stock now all contain post consumer waste.
We also recognize that there is always more than can be done to reduce our environmental impact, so we are on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things.
Green Paper Practices
Although people have known about the virtues of paper recycling for a long time, it is only recently that recycled paper has come into wider use. Recycled paper is both more available and more affordable than ever before. As always, one measure of the ‘greenness’ of a paper is the percentage of post consumer waste (PCW) content in the paper. However, there are now many other measures by which environmentally friendly papers are judged. Some papers are now touted as being carbon neutral. (Sometimes this may mean that a paper company supports environmentally friendly projects which offset the carbon impact of producing the paper.) Other papers are produced using renewable energy, such as wind power. An even more unusual possibility is that you can now use ‘paper’ which is tree free. This usually means that it is produced from some other vegetable product like bamboo, jute, wheat, straw or agricultural waste.
In recent years, we have eliminated some unnecessary paperwork used to process our printing projects. We have done this by using electronic forms for purchase orders, limiting the use of carbonless paper and trying to eliminate extra copies of forms which may be unnecessarily filed or discarded later. As mentioned above, we have also adopted many standard paper stocks which contain post consumer waste and use them every day. By adopting these as ideas, many of our clients use recycled paper without even knowing it.
Green Printing Process
Many printers have taken a look at both their production processes and back office procedures to become more environmentally friendly by reducing unnecessary paper use, limiting the use of unnecessary chemicals (or using more environmentally friendly ones) and even changing the type of printing being offered. Obviously, eliminating all types of unnecessary materials in any manufacturing business is not only green, but also makes good business sense. Reducing waste lowers cost and makes the operation more efficient and profitable. Changing press and other chemicals also makes good sense if effective and environmentally friendly substitutes can be found. Lastly, changing processes is a great way to lower the environmental impact of the printing process. Many new digital printing presses use less power, for instance, and may require fewer chemicals or use toner which is biodegradable.
We have worked to change our processes to reduce waste and lower our environmental impact. Several years ago, our plate system in our offset printing department became ‘chemistry-free.” In other words, a department that used to produce toxic chemicals which had to be reprocessed now produces no toxic by products. Further, we recycle 100% of our printing plates.
Another area where we have had success helping the environment is in promoting our digital department for short run documents. This is environmentally conscious on several fronts. First, short run documents tend to be more up to date; this reduces obsolescence and waste. Second, our state of the art digital printing equipment uses a low amount of power and uses biodegradable toner.
At The Print Authority, we are committed to improving our processes and to helping our clients make choices which reduce our (and their) environmental impact.