Changes in government regulations, public pressure and a desire to make practices more efficient, the printing industry has been at the forefront of creating a new, sustainable world.
Printers, like all industries, to remain competitive and relevant, have had to look at:
- refining our systems
- minimise our waste; and
- maximise our processes with automation and efficiency.
Customer demands are changing; they want to have the best quality product, delivered with short lead times that supports the environment.
Here are four ways the printing industry is leading sustainability:
1.Eco-Friendly Paper Sourcing
Environmentally friendly printers are taking the initiative in making sure that our paper and other raw materials come from eco-friendly sources. As well as using recycled paper this also includes the coating, bleaching and other factors which influence the paper’s environmental footprint.
At Fast Proof Press, for example, we source all our paper stock from FCS Certified House Stocks.
2.Using Soy and Vegetable-Based Inks
Traditional inks are petroleum-based and are known to release so-called “volatile organic compounds,” or VOCs. Petroleum-based inks are also made from the world’s #1 non-renewable resource: oil.
On the other hand, vegetable-based inks such as the one’s we use – are made with soy, are more sustainable and release no VOCs.
Vegetable inks have two benefits – they make recycling easier, as they make de-inking of paper to be recycled much easier, and vegetable ink suppliers tend to be more eco-conscious shifting the ink industry towards a greener place.
Next on the scene is likely to be new waterless-based ink – better technology in the ink manufacturing process will allow for far less water to be used to create and store inks.
3.Overall Energy Efficiency
The printing industry, like many, has taken advantage of technological advances to reduce energy consumption.
Technology has had a massive impact on the printing industry – with the increasing number of environmentally-friendly printers that are now available. You only need to look at the standard office printers today compared to a few years ago to see how far the industry has shifted.
“Industry standards such as the ISO 12647 series emerged to support process control and data-driven production, resulting in less waste”.
4.Eliminating Wasteful Production Practices
Before digital, large limited print runs meant that huge amounts of paper, ink and other resources went into producing printed materials that just ended up sitting on a shelf or in a warehouse somewhere. This was because, at that time, it was impossible to cost effectively manage short run print jobs. By embracing new technologies like on–demand printing and variable data printing we radically reduced the impact of wasteful overprinting.
At Fast Proof Press, we encourage clients to utilise our on-demand services and online stock monitoring systems to print as required, as opposed to large print runs which might not be used.
The change in the economy, regulations and overall landscape has and will continue to make changes to the industry. The price of oil has pushed ink manufacturers to seek cheaper alternatives – which has led to soy-based inks – both better for the environment and the end customer cost.