Choosing an Environmentally Conscious Printer: Navigating the World of “Green” Printing

Published 3/12/13
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em>This post is part five of a five-part series Miles is publishing every Tuesday, through today, to help make your next print project a green one. To read the complete series, start here: Navigating the World of Green Printing. Choosing papers that contain recycled content or are produced under sustainable conditions is beneficial in creating a more environmentally conscious publication. Being aware of your printer’s efforts to be green is also important. Some questions to consider:

-Does your printer utilize soy or vegetable based inks? Widely available and significantly less harmful to the environment, inks derived from plant material are quickly becoming the industry standard. Soy Seal Ink Certification is one example of a program that promotes the use of soy-based inks. Inks carrying this certification must contain a specific percentage of soy bean oil and publications printed with Soy Seal Inks can carry the trademark. -Are any efforts being made to reduce emissions or energy consumption? Many of the big players within the industry have partnered with organizations like Energy Star to assist in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the printing industry. Printers who partner with these organizations must meet strict energy-efficiency specifications established by the Environmental Protection Agency. -What investments are being made to upgrade to more efficient equipment or reuse resources? It sounds like a no-brainer that newer equipment is designed to create less waste and run more efficiently. Resources like plates are frequently reused by printers several times, and if they’re really on top of their game, these plates should end up in the recycling bin and not in a landfill. -Is your printer quoting work that is suited to their capabilities? Building a good relationship with your print vendor will empower you to make smart decisions about printing. If your printer is doing right by you, he will warn you up front if a quote request isn’t suitable for their capabilities or suggest alternatives that would produce a more efficient product. Running a job that isn’t a good fit causes an enormous amount of waste in addition to expenses that could have been avoided by selecting a vendor more suitable the project. By becoming educated about the options that exist, marketers can increase their environmental consciousness and become a little greener about how a brand is communicated. An approach that utilizes a combination of digital and consciously sourced print products can make giant strides towards improving your environmental image. Although there’s no doubt that the world is increasingly moving in a digital direction, print maintains a strong presence and will continue to occupy a portion of most marketing efforts. Luckily, with a little research and building successful business relationships with the vendors you choose to utilize, there are plenty of alternatives available to ensure that your marketing efforts are less detrimental to the environment and provide your organization with some serious green appeal.