Green Your Printing

Just like everyone else we are struggling with being green. There are many certifications, many recycled options and many ways to help a print shop have a small footprint.

It can be overwhelming and costly.

Here are the things that we have implemented at our shop and some opinions

  1. Our offset press uses soy ink and does not image traditional metal plates but instead images on the press. This uses less chemistry, less water causing less fumes and waste. We use radiant heat in our warehouse which also uses less energy.
  2. We recycle everything we possibly can, including paper, toner bottles, pop cans and water bottles. The chemicals we use for plates and film are disposed of according to EPA guidelines (plates and film are recycled as well.) We are not certified. Frankly, we're a small shop and can't afford it.
  3. We offer many recycled papers, from 100% recycled on down. Obviously 100% recycled is the most expensive. Most paper is FSC or SFI certified or both. I think most paper these days comes from sustained forest whether they are certified or not. Using virgin forests for papers just doesn't make economic or environmental sense anymore.
    • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) means that some of the wood fiber in the paper is from well managed forests certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.
    • SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) means that the manufacturer is using fibers from forests that are grown and maintained for paper production (no virgin forests)
    • There are several other certifications including Green Seal, Green-e and Rainforest Alliance.
  4. Coatings. Coatings have a purpose â€" to control fingerprint marks. My advice is, if you don't need it, don't use it. Coatings hamper decomposition and it does take extra energy and chemistry . Some print shops say they are using "green" chemicals in their UV or aqueous but anything added is a waste. If fingerprints are not an issue with your print piece, why do it? Glossy is out, matte is in.
  5. Here are a few ways to be more "green" about your printed marketing collateral. Make sure your piece
    • Serves multiple purposes and maximizes shelf life
    • Raises awareness by displaying environmental specs
    • Uses soy and vegetable-based inks and avoids metallic inks
    • Avoids foilstamping, thermography, and lamination or coatings.

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