Tips to marketing your business in good conscience
Building a thriving business and protecting the environment doesn't have to present a tricky trade-off. When it comes to printing, the options in the industry are making it easier every day to find environmentally-friendly ways to successfully market your business in print.
Eco-conscious printing is about more than just the manufacturing process on press. It involves awareness of the entire manufacturing chain - the materials involved, the resources used and the impact to both larger and local eco-systems.
Eco-Friendly Printing Practices
When evaluating whether you're getting eco-friendly printing, find out your printer's practices on the following:
- look for papers that include pre-consumer recycled content and are responsibly sourced from sustainable tree plantations, with chlorine-free processing. The Forest Stewardship Council certifies printers with a "chain of custody" certification that guarantees that products are printed on stocks from well-managed forests adhering to strict environmental and socio-economic standards.
Papers using post-consumer recycled fibers may or may not be the most eco-friendly option, depending on the chemicals and waste involved in the recycling process to bleach printed material into clean white sheets. Read more on green printing with recyled paper
Inks, Coatings and Chemicals - Eco-friendly printing uses vegetable-based inks, primarily soy, instead of petroleum based inks which leach volatile organic compounds. Vegetable-based inks are both gentle on the environment and produce bright, high quality images that are more easily removed during paper recycling. Water-based aqueous coatings provide high-gloss finishes and are more eco-friendly than UV coatings. Eco-friendly printers also use organic neutralizing solutions and filters to ensure the solvents and protectants used in printing don't contaminate the local groundwater and soil.
Reducing and Reusing Waste - By using top-grade paper, trained operators and modern equipment, the amount of paper needed for setup can be significantly reduced. The most eco-friendly printers have their scrap paper recycled into newsprint, which requires much less energy, water and chemical treatment than recycling into white paper. Plus, biodegradable or recyclable packing materials helps avoid more permanent waste in landfills.
Energy Consumption - A key part of eco-conscious printing is what goes into powering and outfitting the equipment and facilities. Facilities that use renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, well-insulated, energy-efficient buildings and energy-saving features such as fluorescent lighting, low-water usage in fixtures and landscaping and power-saving equipment can make a big difference in the amount of total resources it takes to produce your printed piece.
Getting the Word Out
Your customers and employees care about how environmentally responsible your organization is, and your marketing materials are a great place to tell them. When you've done your homework to ensure that your printing comes from sustainably-produced paper using soy-based inks on wind-powered presses, spread the word! You can add a line of text or include a small icon for FSC-certified, Processed Chlorine Free or the recycling label on your brochures, catalogs and other marketing materials.