Going green is the goal and desire of many in today’s world. Reducing unnecessary waste, eliminating the use of toxic chemicals, and finding ways to preserve precious natural resources are all ways that individuals and businesses can go green. But is there any way that the printing industry can go green? While no industry can be perfect, printing companies like Dazzle Printing utilize a wide variety of eco-friendly practices to transform a once-wasteful industry into one that embraces green printing strategies across all aspects of the business. Let’s take a look at what constitutes eco-friendly printing practices and how companies like Dazzle Printing are fulfilling their goal of going green.
Green Printing: Reducing Environmental Impact
The goals of eco-friendly practices in any industry are to reduce the impact on the environment, including the resources used to produce a product to the production processes themselves. In the past, printing companies didn’t take conscientious steps to reduce the impact of their business on the environment. But today, these green practices are becoming more commonplace as consumers and businesses see the benefits of such practices as reducing waste, using non-toxic inks, and implementing practices that help the environment. As recently as a few years ago, going green was thought of as too expensive to manage, but today not only are businesses seeing cost savings but customers are as well.
Are Green Printing Practices Good for Businesses?
Using different materials and changing the production process could potentially cost a business more money. But for printing companies, utilizing green printing practices can actually result in cost savings over using traditional methods of printing. And eco-friendly printing also produces less waste both on the production side as well as in the office, so printing companies see a financial and operational benefit as well.
- Cost Effectiveness: For printing companies, utilizing green printing practices can actually result in cost savings over using traditional methods of printing. Green practices involve the use of more recycled paper which can reduce production costs over time for a printing company. In addition, new digital printing presses use less power to operate, reducing the associated costs as well as the energy requirements to provide the same (or even better) quality product.
- Waste Elimination: Eco-friendly printing reduces waste in two ways. First, printing companies like Dazzle Printing utilize recycled paper made of between 10% and 30% of post-consumer waste products. In addition, printers also recycle their own production trimmings, waste, and office paper as well.
- Harmful Toxin Reduction: Traditional printing uses chlorine-based bleaches on production papers that release methane into the soil, air, and water as they decompose after their use. These dangerous methane gases add a toxin to the air that is 25 times more dangerous than CO2. But green practices reduce this methane release by using fewer toxic chemicals in the printing process, creating a less hazardous situation for the company as well as the environment. Companies that are moving to sustainable practices are also switching to technology that releases less ozone into the air during the printing process as well, further reducing the harmful toxins the printing process releases into the atmosphere.
Green Paper Manufacturing Options
One of the biggest products used in printing is the paper. While reduced paper usage is always a good way for a business to reduce its environmental impact by using fewer resources, this reduction is not feasible in many situations. So instead, printing companies swap out the types of papers they use in printing to save natural resources like the trees and plants used to make the paper as well as utilize papers whose use create a smaller environmental impact.
- Paper Made with Renewable Energy: Paper creation can be made in a more environmentally aware way. Some printing companies choose to secure their paper resources from a manufacturing plant that utilizes renewable energy. Using a renewable, green source like wind power at a paper making plant reduces overall energy usage and does not contribute to already strained energy resources. Printing companies can reduce their associated energy usage by utilizing renewable energy in this way when it is available.
- Recycled Paper: Another type of paper that printing companies use that is better for the environment is recycled paper products. Many companies like Dazzle Printing use paper with up to 30% post-consumer waste products to produce their projects. Instead of wasting this paper, which may come from trimming book pages during the final process of producing a book or from excess or wastepaper in the office or manufacturing areas, printing companies can keep useable paper products from clogging up landfills instead.
- Treeless Paper: A unique option that many printing companies put to use in their quest to be green is treeless paper. This kind of product produces paper that is made from plant materials other than trees, the standard ingredient in paper. Bamboo, jute, straw, and wheat are some of the vegetable products that are used to make this treeless type of paper. Other ingredients may be a variety of agricultural waste products that are combined to make a paper that is appropriate for use in many types of printing projects. While not as widespread in use as recycled paper or paper that is made with a renewable energy source, the treeless paper holds great promise in moving printing projects toward an even greener future.
Printing Ink Improvements
Printing companies also can reduce their environmental impact through the types of inks they choose to use in printing projects. Traditional inks can include the use of harsh chemicals both in the creation of the ink as well as the implementation of the ink in printing projects. But now there are two main methods of improving the types of inks used by printing companies that are better for the environment and hold great promise for additional improvements over time.
- Soy Inks: Some printing companies have switched to inks made with soy instead of other chemical-based inks. Soy is prized because it produces clear, accurate colors and it is biodegradable. Using soy ink makes it easier to recycle paper since the ink will break down easily.
- Toner-Based Inks: Another popular way to improve ink in the printing process is to use inks that are toner-based. These types of ink are non-toxic and can be produced in zero-waste facilities as well as be used on efficient digital printing presses, further adding to their low environmental impact. Dazzle Printing only uses toner-based inks.
In addition to green paper choices and ink upgrades to shift to a more environmentally aware printing process, companies also utilize a variety of waste recycling practices in their efforts to go green. Many businesses recycle their own trim paper from printing projects as well as office paper that is discarded. In addition, a switch to digital printing and digital paperwork reduces the amount of waste produced, further enhancing a business’s environmentally conscious perspective.
Printing On Demand
Traditional printing practices in the past involved manufacturing large volumes of projects. With large runs of projects, many books and other products were overproduced and if not used they were destroyed and possibly not able to be recycled due to their content. But now, companies have shifted to a print-on-demand philosophy that allows small runs of products instead. Digital printing has enhanced a printer’s ability to print on demand since digital eliminated the need to use traditional printing plates that were expensive and not environmentally friendly to use. These printing plates were not as agile as digital presses of today and were not economical to be used for small runs of a project. Printing small quantities on digital presses, even as few as one book, will reduce the amount of product waste a business produces as well as increase the amount of other associated material waste that is needed to store or ship the extra, unnecessary product previously produced with large printing runs.
Working with a Green Printer
Authors and project creators often choose to work with a specific company for its commitment to green, environmentally conscious business practices. When selecting a printer to produce a book or another printing project, using a trusted partner like Dazzle Printing will ensure that the latest, most sustainable practices are used. Not only will the sourcing, manufacturing and finalizing of your project make a smaller environmental impact with these green improvements, but Dazzle Printing will guarantee that your finished product will be beautiful. And everyone can agree that choosing a green printer that helps to create a greener, more sustainable environment is the best way to go since you won’t have to sacrifice the way your project looks or feels.