Environmental stewardship within the printing industry is more critical than ever. With innovative eco-friendly printing solutions that actively reduce carbon footprints and practices that minimize emissions and waste, the industry continues to enhance sustainability within its operations.  Improving our green commitments extends to our clients. Our sustainability series further elaborates on the eco-conscious choices and strategies available to our customers, ensuring that every printing decision supports a healthier environment.

With strategic eco-friendly printing practices, we can help you go green on your next printing project. Here’s how:

Pick Paper that Supports Sustainable Printing

While the production of paper has claimed large swaths of forests across the globe, many forward-thinking paper eco-friendly printing companies practice sustainable forest management, a set of guidelines that ensures trees are responsibly forested and replaced. As your eco-friendly printing company, we can help you source paper made by companies driving these green printing initiatives. Some, like Double A Paper, go beyond the ordinary replenishment tactics. This company even plants trees between rice paddies in Thailand to support a model of sustainability that provides shade and another stream of income to rice farmers. We applaud these efforts to find creative solutions to the climate crisis.

When considering paper, it’s also important to ascertain if it’s made with post-consumer materials. Recycled paper is a smart eco-friendly printing option, as the higher post-consumer percentage represents a more earth-friendly choice. Nearly 68% of paper is currently recycled (it’s one of the most recycled materials in the U.S.), and more than half is repurposed as cardboard boxes, another earth-friendly choice. You can also find paper that is recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable for green printing projects. Recyclable paper ensures it can be reused again, and biodegradable and compostable materials will not only tread lighter on the earth, but can benefit the soil ecosystem when disposed of correctly.

Related: Sustainability and FSC Certification - Why It Matters

Select Non-Toxic Ink for Eco-Friendly Printing

One way to reduce emissions is to seek ink solutions that are more environmentally friendly. We recommend avoiding the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that traditional commercial printing inks release as gas and vapors; this will help keep the air cleaner. Low-polluting inks and solvents like soy and vegetable-based inks are eco-friendly alternatives that don’t include toxins. Soy and vegetable inks don’t contain petroleum, which makes them easier to recycle. Plus, green printing this way has another important benefit—soy-based inks can be de-inked to make recycling paper simpler for sustainable printing. 

Also, you can still achieve professional-looking varnishes and coatings with sustainable printing strategies. Consider water-based aqueous coatings. They effectively create a tactile effect, protect the paper, and help images shine.

Reduce the Waste

Print runs can generate significant paper waste when not thoughtfully managed. This unused paper often becomes part of a landfill. It’s estimated 17% of office paperwork is wasted. When you partner with a professional commercial printer that has expertise in optimizing green printing runs to reduce waste, much of this can be eliminated. 

Not only does careful attention to waste production increase efficiency and reduce waste, but it saves money as well. Here at Ironmark, we are experts at planning runs to minimize waste, and we shred and recycle any paper waste to keep it out of the landfill. We’re committed to recycling all paper products and other recyclables, including cardboard packaging and signage.  

Conserve Energy 

Of course, printing itself expends energy, which can be a large source of carbon emissions. That’s why Ironmark has invested in high-speed web offset printers that adhere to ENERGY STAR guidelines to keep energy usage as low as possible while creating great efficiencies.  Some eco-friendly mills generate two-thirds of their energy through biomass and renewable fuel sources like Biofuel, made from the waste created during paper production.

Related: How to Stay Eco-Friendly with Your Print Products.

The Time for Sustainable Printing IS Now

There’s never been a better time to incorporate sustainable practices throughout every business area, especially in sustainable printing. With the right resources and a team dedicated to using eco-friendly printing practices wherever possible, your next project can be greener in many ways (including saving some green). Consider your paper, ink, and printer choice to minimize your impact on the planet, and your customers will thank you too.

Talk to the Print Experts!

Written by Garner Leidy

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