Running a successful printing business is no longer as simple as producing a high-quality product at competitive prices, although both elements are obviously essential. In addition, printing businesses need to show that they are environmentally conscious and taking proactive steps to minimise their impact on the planet. Consumers are more discerning than ever before, and businesses are realising the reputational benefits of being able to claim that they consider the environment in their operations. In many instances, people will pay more for a service if they know they are buying from an ethical and eco-friendly company.
This guide introduces some tips to help printing businesses become eco-friendlier in 2021.
1. Print on sustainably sourced and recycled materials
The most obvious way to run an eco-friendly printing business is to use recycled and sustainably sourced papers. However, it is best to use pre-consumer recycled papers to ensure that you are not using paper that has been bleached with harmful chemicals during the recycling process. It is also important to source paper from sustainable plantations and not to support deforestation.
If you print banners and other large surface coverings, you should be printing on materials that are free of harmful chemicals and are able to be recycled. For example, Soyang Europe offers a dedicated range of PVC-free and recycled printable materials, textiles, and recycled yarn.
2. Choose eco-friendly inks
Rather than using petroleum-based inks that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), choose vegetable-based inks that are not harmful to the environment and are easier to remove when being recycled. For high-gloss finishes and coatings, choose water-based or UV options as well as organic filters, protectants, and neutralising solutions.
3. Minimise your waste
Eco-friendly printing companies take steps to minimise how much waste they produce by ensuring their operators are well-trained, that they are using the best possible equipment, and using high-quality printing materials. Where scrap paper is present, it should be recycled, but into newsprint rather than standard paper as this process does not consume as much energy or water. When choosing general supplies and products, look for recyclable materials and/or biodegradable packaging.
4. Use less energy and water
Printing equipment and your facilities require power and water, and there are always steps businesses can take to reduce their consumption of both resources. Consider installing solar panels on the roof of your premises to generate free and clean electricity and install energy-efficient lighting. Your premises should be well insulated to reduce the need for heating. If you are sending your product to customers, click here for ideas on making your shipping processes more eco-friendly.
5. Shout about your eco-friendly practices
Employees, customers, and any other businesses where you work in a partnership are interested in how eco-friendly your operation is, so tell them about it. The steps you are taking to protect the environment should be included on your website, your digital marketing, and in your own printed marketing materials. You may want to add a label to your packaging which states that your products are sustainably sourced and/or printed on recycled materials.