Sourcing Sustainable Print

The printing industry is not know for its light environmental footprint. In fact from high energy consumption, to solvent based inks, and huge paper consumption; pretty much every step has an impact on the environment. So how do you go about sourcing sustainable print?


Thankfully many printers know the impact of their business and have implemented changes to reduce their footprint. By working with these printers and also making sure the design is suitable you can produce sustainable print. 


So what do you need to consider to make sure your printed literature is sustainable?

What to consider

1. The Printer
Does the printer have ISO 14001 certification, an international accreditation to say the business has assessed its environmental impact and is committed to reducing it.


2. Energy Source
Where is the printer sourcing their energy from? Is it a Renewable Energy supplier? Do they offset their consumption? Or perhaps they produce their own?


3. Is the printer local?
Aim to use a local printer rather than the cheapest online printer. Not only do we need to support our local businesses, but it keeps your transport pollution down.


4. Paper Stock
Does the paper have a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC) accreditation, or perhaps is it recycled? Many sustainable papers are both. Speak to the printer or to paper merchants to find out about sustainable papers.


5. Inks
Does the printer use vegetable based inks? This means only water is required to clean the printing presses rather than solvents. 


6. Is the end product recyclable?
When designing a job think about where it will end up. Whilst metallic inks and laminates can make your printed item exciting – this means it is no longer recyclable. Paper with heavy ink coverage is also difficult to recycle, as are some papers. 


Cover photo credit: Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. from Pexels