10 ways to ensure you’re using sustainable print
1. Use an environmentally conscious sustainable print expert
At Newman Thomson we truly believe in sustainable print, we are FSC® certified, a not for profit organisation focussed on the welfare of the worlds forests. We are also ISO 14001 certified which recognises our commitment to conform with all environmental laws and regulations and actively work to minimise the environmental impact of all current and future activities and processes, reduce energy use and promote environmentally considerate practices throughout our supplier chain. It’s not just about badges and certificates though, we’ve switched virtually all of our lighting from incandescent to LED, saving a vast amount of energy, and reducing wastage. We’ve switched to processesless plating, virtually eliminating the need for harmful chemicals, and reducing water usage. We no longer use paper hand towels or electric hand dryers, we use continuous towel rolls which are collected and recycled. Our vending machines only use paper cups, not plastics. We could go on, but you can always read more on our environmental page.
2. Choose the right paper
This sounds like an obvious point, but it is one that is often overlooked. The range of environmentally friendly papers is growing continuously. As a rule, try to avoid glossy stocks, as these can cause issues with recycling. The most environmentally aware choice would be an uncoated stock, which as the name suggests, doesn’t have any form of coating on it. We offer fully recycled, part recycled, and FSC® papers, as well as carbon balanced papers which allow you to offset the amount of carbon dioxide created during the production process.
3. Try to avoid glues and plastics where possible
Whilst you might not know it, the application of glue to a product, can render it un-recyclable. If you need to affix items to your printed products try and think about using different methods, such as slits, or tabs. One of our design team loves making challenging die cutter guides, so if you need a hand, just get in touch.
4. Use print on demand
Why print way more than you need of something? With the developments in the web to print landscape it’s now easier than ever to simply print what you want, in the quantity you want, when you want. No more throwing away out of date publications, no more over ordering. What’s more, due to it’s nature, print on demand work is virtually always printed on digital presses, which are far more environmentally friendly than their litho counterparts. No metal plates needed, no harsh chemicals to clean presses, considerably more energy efficient, in fact our 3 HP Indigo digital presses themselves were all produced in a Carbon Neutral production process.
5. Add value without environmental cost
Perhaps you want to create a glitzy event invite, and had been considering using a glitter or something similar to give it impact, neither glitter, nor the glue used to apply it are terribly good for the environment, so why not consider something that not only looks better, but doesn’t have a negative impact like embossing, or die cutting?
6. Recycle any surplus print
If you do have any left over print from previous jobs which are surplus to requirements, then let us know at the time of placing your next order, and we’ll pick it up and bring it back to our plant for recycling. That way, the product gets recycled, and it saves an unnecessary journey as our transport partners are in and out of our place every day. Not only will your product have been printed on recycled stock, it will then be being recycled again, now that is sustainable print.
7. Do your research
Find out what market you are aiming for and tailor your product to them as much as possible, whilst the ‘scatter gun’ approach to marketing used to be the only way, it ends up very wasteful and therefore not very cost effective, or good for the environment.
What would you rather be handed? A lightweight glossy thin generic flyer, or a high end stock with beautiful finishing and perhaps even personalisation (simple with digital print).
So whilst on the face of it you may be paying the same for less, if you consider that a lot of your cheap marketing materials will be going straight in the bin (and not the recycling bin as they’re on gloss) the higher end stuff which you’ve carefully targeted to the correct audience will be gaining traction and working harder and more efficiently for you. You’ll have also used less paper and energy to create it. Everyones a winner!
8. Check, check and check again.
Again, this may sound like an obvious one, but probably the easiest way to reduce environmental impact of your jobs, is to eliminate errors. One small typo could double the size of your job, thus doubling the environmental impact and of course the cost. Before going to press, have several people check over the job, ideally some who have no involvement with the job as they will be more likely to spot any errors that could be missed by over familiarity with the project.
9. Don’t encapsulate
If you have a job that you want to used in a hard environment, instead of going for the old fashioned method of encapsulation which uses all manner of glues and plastics, why not look at using a synthetic paper such as Agfa’s Synaps material, which is waterproof, tear proof, UV stable and of course recyclable. Less processes are involved as it’s printed on in a similar fashion to paper, as opposed to using the printer, then the guillotine, then the encapsulation machine, then the guillotine again.
10. Sticking around
There was a time when all stickers featured non-recyclable adhesives, and as such were (regardless of what stock was used) non-recyclable, we can now source FSC® approved stickers with biodegradable adhesives, so a sticky problem, has now been alleviated.
If you’d like to discuss any other aspects of sustainable print, please either drop us an email to [email protected], or give us a call on 01444 480700