Green Printing – Areas to Consider When Selecting a Good Eco Friendly Printing Company

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Helping the environment is important to most people right now, and for those in business, what better way to help than to use an environmentally friendly printing service for all your business printing needs, whether it be for Business Cards, Brochures, Annual Reports, or just a simple Newsletter.

In the current market however, few printers can be classified as eco friendly printing companies, with the majority of still running print processes that involve the use of plate developing and press chemicals.

To help identify a good quality environmentally aware printing company the following provides some basic factors worth considering.

1. Eco Print Policy

Does the printing company have an environmental policy? If they do it should be available either through their website, in PDF format, or via email. A good eco print policy will set out how the company approaches ongoing assessment around the methods of eco friendly production and working practices Printers in London, but will also set out specifics in the following areas.

2. Eco Friendly Paper

Is the printer FSC and PEFC Certified. This in itself confirms that the printing company prints on materials harvested through the sustainable management of forests. The FSC chain of custody tracks FSC certified material from the forest to the consumer, right the way through the production process.

Does the printing company recycle 100% of paper waste? Do they continually monitor machine set up sheets to ensure an ongoing reduction in press waste?

Apart from what inks are used in the process, have you ever considered the amount of ink a particular Typeface will use. Well a Dutch company called Spranq has developed a font called the ‘Ecofont™’. It may be worth asking your printer how and if this font would be usable for your particular print job. The font basically has circles left blank in the middle of each letter reducing ink usage by up to 25%, but whilst maintaining readability.

3. Environmentally Friendly Inks

A good eco friendly printer will be using vegetable based inks instead of inks that are oil based. With modern day 10 colour presses using vegetable inks check to see if the Inkline or similar system is in use. This can reduce the press ink that gets wasted by around 90%. Eco friendly printers will have the contaminated nozzles for the print cartridges recycled after use.

4. Printing Plates and Chemicals for Developing

Look for a printing company who have invested in process free plate making. This process allows the plates to develop on the printing press, and eradicates the need for all developing or fixing agents. With this process 100% of the aluminium plates can be recycled.

5. Chemicals Used On The Printing Press

Environmentally friendly printing companies will have eradicated most press chemicals, or they will have found environmentally friendly alternatives. Where alcohol free printing has not been fully implemented, low alcohol fountain solution is used which reduces alcohol usage to a very small percentage. Low alcohol fountain solution was specifically developed for medium to large sheet fed presses to reduce the alcohol usage, which in turn reduces harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

6. Rags and Plastic In The Printing Process

When assessing your choice of Eco Printing Company, ask them what they do about plastic pallet wrapping and pallet strapping which represents the majority of the plastic a print company has to deal with. As with contaminated ink nozzles, all other plastic will be recycled by an environmentally responsible printing company.

Worth questioning is what materials are used for cleaning of the presses. Paper wipes can not be recycled if contaminated with even the smallest amount of chemicals. Eco friendly printers will be using rags that they will have collected and laundered for reuse on an ongoing basis.

With adherence to the above practices a good Eco Print company will be able to reduce their possible landfill waste by 80% or more in comparison to other printers, so if you wish to help the environment, invest in green printing solutions by using an eco friendly printing company.

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