Your Guide to Environmentally Friendly Printing Materials
More and more businesses are recognising the importance of adopting environmentally friendly practices. Whether it’s pertaining to the products that they source, logistical operations, or marketing strategies, sustainability is at the forefront of everybody’s minds, and with good reason.
Simultaneously, rapid digital transformation has only stressed the need for more companies to, in no uncertain terms, ‘go more digital’. While it’s no secret that some clear benefits lie in eliminating widespread paper usage, many companies that have traditionally and historically relied on printed marketing or communication materials may not always find that transition so easy. However, an easier alternative – and one that reduces carbon footprint and emissions – is simply making the switch to eco-friendly printing materials.
Treetop Design & Print prioritises sustainability. We offer eco-friendly printing solutions to help our clients align with green values. Using inks from renewable sources and recyclable printing materials allows you to demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting the planet through your marketing. However, we recognise that some companies need some guidance in making that initial ‘green’ switch. In this guide, we’ll overview popular environmentally friendly printing materials to consider and why it pays to go green with your prints.
Eco-friendly printing materials are those sourced sustainably and manufactured in ways that minimise environmental impact. This includes (but is not limited to):
Paper makes up a large portion of print marketing, and is often the first go-to point for emission and carbon reduction due to its effect on the environment. Opting for recycled paper significantly reduces deforestation and waste, and still allows you to fulfil your printed marketing goals. Post-consumer recycled paper is best, utilising material diverted from landfills. This paper can still do high-quality graphic design and branding justice in the finished product.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Paper
FSC certification guarantees paper is sourced from responsibly managed forests. We at Treetop Design & Print are proud to be FSC certified, so you can rest assured that any orders are not coming at a cost to forest harvesting. The FSC is a global non-profit organisation that assures customers that forests are responsibly managed while still providing practical benefits in product sourcing.
Traditional petroleum-based or oil-based inks contribute to pollution, whereas soy-based inks provide a renewable, low-VOC option derived from soya beans mixed with other eco-friendly resources like wax and natural resin. This makes them much less harmful and actually contributes to brighter, more vibrant colours in finished prints thanks to the soy oil. Soy-based ink is also considerably cheaper as a whole than oil- or petroleum-based inks.
Glossy prints often use solvent-based coatings. Water-based aqueous coatings are a VOC-free, non-toxic alternative that is far more environmentally friendly and dries quickly during the printing process, making it possible to achieve various different finishes.
Materials like biodegradable plastic, corn starch, and potato starch enable compostable packaging and printing. Eco-friendly substrates break down naturally without leaving microplastics behind and thus are inherently recyclable. Some can be entirely made from recyclable materials like paper.
Opting for sustainable printing materials benefits your brand, consumers, and the environment in numerous ways. By changing your printing materials and substrates, you are creating further demand for an area that is experiencing innovation in several ways, and you will be doing your brand, customers, suppliers, and natural resources a service.
Show Customers You Care
Today’s consumers favour brands that share their values. Research shows sustainability is a priority for many shoppers, so if you can demonstrate accountability and transparency in your preservation of materials and resources, and opt for greener alternatives, you will be showing you care about the planet.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Printing has traditionally had a large environmental impact while transitioning to greener materials drastically reduces your carbon emissions. In turn, you will be taking much-needed steps to combat climate change, even if your change is marginal or gradual.
Support Sustainable Supply Chains
Materials like FSC paper promote responsible forest management and choosing eco-friendly substrates encourages sustainable sourcing down the supply chain. By optimising sustainability in each supply chain as much as possible without compromising on quality or productivity you’ll be stimulating areas that are poised for continual improvement.
Minimise Waste / Carbon Offset
Recycled materials mean less waste headed to landfills and eco-friendly inks, coatings, and substrates also cut down on toxic pollution. As fewer non-recyclable or non-renewable products occupy general waste bins and landfill sites, more of them can be reused to create more eco-friendly printing products.
Gain a Competitive Edge
As sustainability grows increasingly important, eco-friendly printing gives you a competitive advantage. It enables you to meet customer expectations and gain valuable brand recognition and trust while meeting your long-term goals in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and marketing.
While recycled paper once cost more than standard paper, over time prices have dropped significantly. Sustainable printing materials are now very cost-effective and readily available compared to past years.
Ready to make your printing greener? Here are 5 tips to get started:
- Audit Your Materials
Review all the substrates, inks, coatings, and other materials used in your printing. Identify areas that can be adjusted or eliminated to implement greener and more sustainable options.
- Set Goals
Define short- and long-term sustainability objectives, such as reducing paper use by certain amounts within a certain time frame, or ensuring all inks are plant-based by a specified deadline. Track progress towards specific goals and identify any bottlenecks that are preventing you from achieving them.
- Make Gradual Improvements
Transition to eco-friendly materials over time for a more manageable process. Don’t try and become entirely green overnight because that is unfeasible for most. Start making gradual improvements in areas that are the highest priority, before moving onto others that can be optimised or adjusted later down the line.
- Get Certified
To validate your commitment to sustainability and your environmental impact, review your printers’ accreditation and certification. If they can demonstrate FSC certification, then you know for sure they take forest preservation seriously and have an approved environmental management system (EMS) in place. If they can openly demonstrate reducing their environmental impact long-term and are committed to making improvements, you can rest assured they take sustainability seriously.
- Educate Your Team
Ensure employees understand sustainability initiatives and are trained to make eco-conscious choices when sourcing and selecting printing materials. Education is such a powerful tool and the more awareness you can give your team about resource preservation and material reuse, the more positive your impact will be.
For hassle-free, cost-effective and sustainable printing, partner with a printer that prioritises eco-friendly materials and practices.
Treetop Design & Print are always on the lookout for eco-friendly printing alternatives that can make your print designs look as amazing as ever. Our eco-friendly printing services encompass the use of both recycled seeded paper and FSC-approved sustainable sources, which are also biodegradable. We also donate recycled offcuts and unused products to schools, colleges and nurseries in our local community of Crawley and the surrounding Sussex area.
We are also proud to hold Vegetarian Society approval as being a responsible vegan printer, meaning our products contain no animal-derived ingredients or GMOs and no testing is carried out during production.
If you want to see how we can take your design concepts and turn those into striking print materials such as brochures, magazines, calendars, folders, business cards, leaflets, signs and banners (among others), let’s chat. We can make your printing both sustainable and reflective of your business.
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