Green Printing is the Way to Go
Despite the proliferation of electronic material and digital forms of communication, printing remains an inevitable aspect of our daily life. Take a look around you and see if there’s not a single printed material like books, documents, stickers, signage, labels, cards, or IDs. To conclude, we can’t live without prints.However, we can’t continue printing without taking into account the environmental cost it entails. This is where green printing comes in.
The paper and pulp industry face issues of rapid forest reduction. Depending on the process of creating the needed pulp, around twelve to twenty-four trees are required to produce one ton of newsprint. The extraction of the pulp is also another major issue, with the consumption of a significant amount of energy and uncontrolled emissions of chemicals deemed dangerous to the environment.
However, printing is just necessary for today’s workload and mundane activities that we’ve even become so accustomed to printed items around us that we tend to forget their significance. While the practice itself is great, it becomes way better when we involve ourselves in green printing and proactively reduce our ecological footprint.
So, what is green printing all about? First of all, it is a movement that pushes for the employment of sustainable practices in the industry and promotes the reduction, reuse, and recycling of resources necessary for printing. Everything from the gathering of materials to their transportation and processing should have less carbon footprint compared to the usual impact that non-green printing practices have on our environment.
For years now, green printing is firming up with government agencies and global corporations following the lead of activists and other eco-friendly companies. Certain laws and regulations were set up in the past years to call for the use of greener materials and methods. With demands growing higher, the supply has also risen. More green printing services are being offered compared to when this practice started out. However, not everyone thinks of green printing in the same way and there is no standardization yet to guarantee a hundred percent green print and differentiate it from what’s not.
When it comes to price, others are discouraged to go green since it can cost a little more. However, this isn’t always the case. Part of going green is to find the most efficient way to design and produce projects while considering their environmental and economic costs. Here are a few tips on how to go green.
Be mindful of the compatibility of your design with the kind of material you’re printing on. This is because some design does not go well with certain recycled items. There are also varying recycled materials to choose from; classifications like post-industrial, pre-consumer, and post-consumer must also be considered, like in any other print designs.
Post-consumer recycled materials are those reprocessed products which people no longer use for their initial purpose. One known example is old printer papers turned into paperboards. Post-industrial and pre-consumer materials are the same; these come from manufacturing waste like shavings, sawdust, and glass cullet.
If you opt to print on post-consumer recycled paper, at least thirty to fifty percent post-consumer content will do just fine.
Eco-friendly inks that are either soy or vegetable-based. These are great alternatives to petroleum-based inks or metallic and fluorescent inks with high heavy-metal content. It is also always a good idea to minimize your ink coverage. Steer clear of designs with huge solid ink areas or those with a significant amount of bleed effect. Also check if the ink you are using is suitable.
Finally, while having extra copies may seem like a good idea, it can be wasteful and more expensive. Instead, stick to the conservative estimate of prints you need. Aside from printing the least number of copies, print on paper with the lightest possible weight for your design. Ultimately, printing in excess is not a good idea regardless of the kind of material you use.
It isn’t at all limited to these pointers we set out for you. Ultimately, it’s all about being more conscious of the impact our actions have on the environment.
Earl Jonathan Tech is the founder of PrintMeister.com.au . One of the newest online companies offering printing services that include basic printing to personalised compliment slips.