Printing is a huge industry and thus has a large effect on the environment. The steps the industry is taking to decrease the environmental impact of printing are sure to have positive results. The following are four eco-friendly trends occurring in the field today.
Historically, printing has required a variety of equipment that eventually had to be replaced. The move to digital printing minimizes the necessary equipment. Less equipment in use now means less worn-out equipment in landfills later. Additionally, digital printing allows proofs to be sent electronically. This means the customer can see the product and request changes before any prints are made, reducing the overall amount of paper used.
Digital printing does not work in every situation, but even companies using older methods are reducing waste. For example, upgrading plastic blades can improve print quality consistency and reduce the need for reprints. Replacing old printing machines with newer, more energy-efficient models decreases the overall environmental impact as well.
Traditional printing methods required a company to print large quantities of an item. Not every item sold, so many ended up in landfills. On-demand printing, when a product is not printed until the customer places the order, reduces waste by ensuring no excess materials are used.
Eco-Friendly Inks and Paper
Many types of ink, particularly petroleum-based varieties, release volatile organic compounds, which are harmful to both humans and the environment. Newer types of ink are easier on the environment. Common bases for these new inks are water, soybean and linseed. Eco-friendly paper options include recycled paper and paper made from cotton, bamboo and other materials.
Printed products are everywhere, from labels on canned vegetables to screen printed t-shirts. Because the industry is so large, even small improvements can make a huge impact on the environment’s health.