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    Sustainability in the Printing Industry

    By Evans Graphics on 10 November 2022

    Sustainability is more than just a buzzword, as proven by its growing influence within the print industry.

    Not only do companies like Evans Graphics want to become greener, our client-base want to work with providers whose sustainable goals clearly align with their own.

    In printing circles there are some clear priorities, namely energy consumption, minimising waste, and using environmentally friendly materials during the printing process.

    Throughout 2022 many of our peers have shown initiative and explored various affordable, sustainable solutions for materials, workflow and print and cut technology alike.

    Here we’ve showcased examples of how some are attempting to overhaul processes…

    Environmentally Friendly Materials

    Many of the materials used in printing circles are anything but environmentally friendly.

    Traditional inks use solvents that exude chemical emissions and a lot of the most popular printing substrates are high in PVC, which is notoriously difficult to dispose of.

    One of the biggest changes in ensuring printing can become more sustainable is moving away from traditional print solutions and introducing more environmentally friendly materials into the mix.

    Thankfully an increasing number now stem from recycled or other sustainable materials that are 100% biodegradable or recyclable. These options also use little to no chemicals when processed.

    Some companies have even begun to create entirely new materials to use for specific eco-products that they’ve introduced to the market.

    One packaging and paper materials supplier, Mondi, have switched their range of glassine-based release liners to certified base paper in a clear green initiative.

    They believe the transition will improve the traceability of their products and align with their pledge to maintain zero deforestation in their supply chain.

    Another trade supplier, Perspex Distribution, have increased their offering of Perspex cast acrylic products and introduced several new recycled products made from renewable materials. They hope to make a new 100% recycled PVC foam available within a year.

    Over 90% of Perspex Distribution’s current product range meanwhile is 100% recyclable and can be used by wide-format printers.

    Energy Efficiency

    Printing businesses can have a significant environmental impact due to the amount of energy they use.

    Printers, cutters and other technology used in standard processes require high amounts of energy to run. Not only does this lead to high costs but the machinery can also cause a lot of energy wastage where there could (and should) be a greener alternative.

    There are now many energy-efficient printers on the market that can meet production requirements just as efficiently as regular models. These machines can also be set to turn off at night and when not in use to conserve power.

    If your equipment is operated in enclosed areas and requires enhanced ventilation, you can save energy by switching to natural ventilation, extraction fans, or adiabatic cooling systems over standard air conditioning.

    Print and packing solutions company Heidelberg have begun focusing on energy efficiency and reducing overall consumption with their latest printers and presses. They’ve optimised their machinery so that their new DryStar Combination warm air dryer saves 27,000kWh per year compared with their earlier driers.

    Similarly, their eight-unit B1 Speedmaster 106XL uses 8kWh per thousand sheets in its most efficient mode.

    Waste Minimisation

    Waste can build up throughout the production process, whether that’s from damaged goods, excess materials or disposing of the latter after use.

    Paper jams and rejects in the printing process can lead to a lot of waste, as can producing more than is required during the printing run.

    Most waste from printing businesses can be reused or recycled. Most papers, printing materials, and print cartridges are able to be recycled in some fashion.

    There are also several waste management businesses that specialise in the disposal of printing waste to ensure that any unsafe materials such as toner dust, not to mention hazardous liquids, can be safely removed.

    At printing and technology company HP PageWide industrial, presses now offer on-demand and short run printing. This can help to reduce the quantity of waste the company creates.

    The presses have no plates to produce, store or dispose of. Moreover, they use water-based inks and have the capacity to support a range of sustainable material options.

    HP has also begun to make changes to the whole corporation, joining the Sustainable Forests Collaborative, to ensure that none of their packaging contributes to deforestation.

    This comes in addition to their own programme, HP Indigo Certified Pre-Owned (CPO), which offers previously owned presses at a more accessible price.


    The times and the industry are a changing.

    For further insight into current industry practices and innovations, view our blogs here.

    Topics: Print Trends


    Author: Evans Graphics

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