Increasing the ‘green’ credentials of business printing is on the agenda for many organisations this year, as firms large and small attempt to minimise their carbon footprints and protect the environment according to business printers, CardsMadeEasy. From changing the ink used on business cards and letterheads to opting for more ethically sourced paper for interdepartmental memos and in-office use, there are many different methods that businesses can adopt in order to conform to a more eco-friendly approach.
Traditional printing in the past has based much of its printing on petroleum-based inks. This ink is almost entirely synthetic and contains a large amount of chemicals that are potentially hazardous when misused in the environment. The more eco-friendly option is to use soy and other vegetable-based inks which, aside from the environmental aspects, have many benefits to business printing. The soybean oil that is used to create the ink is slightly refined and combined with more natural resins and waxes; the make-up of this concoction is naturally clearer than the older petroleum alternatives which means that less pigment is required to make the ink sufficiently visible. It also allows for much brighter colours. This type of ink is also useful for businesses who make use of strict recycling systems; soy ink is much more easily removed from paper in the recycling process. The amount of paper which can be reused is of a much higher percentage than paper which has petroleum-based ink all over it, especially when used on stationery such as the business card, which will be printed in huge volumes.
The choice of paper can also have huge consequences for the environment. Virgin paper, which is harvested directly from trees, is the most detrimental to the overall health of the environment, as it has an immediate impact on the forest it is from, and also requires the largest amount of energy to manufacture into a usable state. Using recycled paper is a very popular alternative; it saves trees, reduced the use of harmful substances and even consumes less energy in its creation. The quality of recycled paper has improved drastically over the years, with costs also going down as more effective processes are established. There are now so many choices to consider when opting for recycled paper that it is becoming more difficult for businesses to excuse not using it. Simply switching to 50% recycled paper when purchasing large volumes of printed business cards or office stationery can give the environment an eco-boost and reduce waste and emissions by up to half.
There is also such a product as ‘tree-free’ paper, which destroys no forests and requires the least amount of energy to create. This type of paper is acid-free, low in chemicals, and is
grown in dedicated fields which are sustainable and also help to create jobs for locals in the areas where these products are harvested. The plants often used include hemp, cotton, soybeans and wheat, with sugar cane husk also an option.
Green printing is a fast-growing industry, with an increasing number of businesses choosing to adopt these methods. The impact of businesses on the environment has become much clearer in the last few decades and many are now taking responsibility for their own emissions and sustainability issues. The additional benefits of green printing are also countless, with higher quality often a possibility and cheaper prices giving tight budgets a helping hand. Organisations can not only adhere to green printing methods, they can draw from the benefits of them and use them to their own advantage.