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Green Printing Practices And Tips

Last Update: 05/30/2014 22:56

Green printing is a buzzword in the whole print industry and is so popular that you'll find printers using the term loosely just to capture those clients. Knowing this, one has to understand what going green actually means in the printing industry before randomly selecting a company because their marketing is superior.

The overall principles of a company that follows eco friendly printing practices should be:

1. Show dedicated effort in educating clients on the benefits of green printing
2. Use of recycled paper primarily
3. Computerized pre-press operations to minimize machine usage
4. Energy efficient equipment and computers
5. Use of non-toxic, alcohol-free and VOC free inks
6. Proper recycling of any waste materials such as solvents, inks and papers

Be aware that the traditional printing process has always involved the release of toxins to the environment as most commercial printers use petroleum based inks which inherently have a large percentage of volatile compounds. The effects of the release of these materials has proven to cause significant damage and thus the demand for more environmentally safer practices.

Eco-Friendly Paper And It's Effect

Virgin paper consumes a large amount of resources. From the wood to the machinery and water necessary to process it. The addition of chlorine to make the paper even whiter is just another part that contributes to the damage of our planet.

Recycled paper uses pulp from sustainable tree farms, thus limiting the impact on the planet. For the ultimate in tree free paper, be on the look out for companies that use plant waste such as those from coconuts and bananas. Bamboo is also another option for these eco friendly companies.

Earth Friendly Inks Are Key

Besides the actual paper that is used for the prints, it's the inks that have the most impact on the environment. Regular inks are usually petroleum based while green printing uses inks based on soy or vegetables. Because these oils are clearer than petroleum based ones, far less pigment is necessary to achieve the desired colors. Less chemicals are used and a side benefit is these inks are easier to remove from paper, which allows for more reuse and recyclability of post consumer products.

Minimal waste is produced and thus less hazardous stuff to worry about.

If the goal of your company is to incorporate green practices, one of the things you should consider to be eco-friendly is to look deeper into the everyday processes that go on. Printing is a huge factor because quite often, printed materials are used in the business world such as for meetings and client education, as well as daily correspondence.

By focusing on going green in this area, a significant impact can be made to the environment so here are some tips for making this happen in your office. The obvious stuff such as recycle paper and inks were already mentioned so here are some others.

A. Consider Your Design Elements

May not seem obvious but one way to go green is to consider the design elements such as large areas of bleed or minimizing an areas that require a lot of color. 

B. Minimize Page Count

Less is more so similar to the design, think about getting your point across more efficiently. Smaller fonts and margins can help as well as printing on both sides. 

C. Clean Your Lists

By effectively keeping track of actual potential clients, you minimize the need for excess. Get an exact count of actual attendees at the next meeting and print exactly enough and not over.

D. Seek Recycled Binding

If you need a binder, opt for recycled plastic coil as they are made of at least 80 percent of post consumer waste plastic.

E. Utilize Bio Degradable Coatings When Possible

For brochures and other marketing materials, use bio degradable coatings as they are easier to recycle later on and gentler on the environment.

As one can see, we've only scratched the surface on what you can do to incorporate green printing in your business. Follow what was mentioned here and at least you'll know you're on the right path. For more tips on things like waterless printing, check here.