Printing in Green

Posted by on Apr 12, 2008 in Blog, Uncategorized | No Comments

For the past couple of weeks I’ve taken a crash course in green printing. There are many factors to consider when choosing a paper company and then a printing facility. Where did the trees come from….what are the practices of that farm, what is in the paper, is the paper producer using sustainable practices in the running of their mills, how is the printing facility printing and by what regulations are they monitored, how is your project is being printed [web, sheet, letterpress…etc], and how far does your product have to travel after it’s been printed?

Choosing the right paper can be a daunting task!

I’m in the process of developing some sort of brochure or book to help designers choose the best solution for their projects. As soon as it’s finished I’ll post a link to the PDF here on this blog.

Here’s a definition of some terms.

Post consumer waste (PCW):
Paper made out of paper which has been used by the end consumer and then is collected for recycling from various recycling programs.

Pre-consumer waste:
Paper made out of paper scraps and trimmings left over from the paper manufacturing process. These paper scraps and trimmings are easiest to recycle, as they do not have to be collected, separated, deinked etc.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist to the benefit of landowners, manufacturers, shareholders, customers, the people they serve, the environment, and future generations. The SFI program integrates the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, water, and air quality.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC): Any organic compound which evaporates readily to the atmosphere. VOCs contribute significantly to photochemical smog production and certain health problems.

Web Printing:
The printing press uses papers that come supplied on a large roll (resembling a paper towel roll). Used for large runs of printing.

Sheet Fed Printing:
The sheet-fed press prints on individual sheets of paper, as opposed to continuous rolls of paper used on web presses.

Letterpress Printing:
A process in which the printing surface of metal, plastic, photopolymer or rubber is raised above the non-printing surface. The ink rollers and the substrate touch only the relief printing surface.

Soy or Vegetable Based Inks:
Inks using vegetable oil, rather than petroleum solvents, as the vehicle for carrying pigment. Vegetable ink colors tend to be more vibrant than petroleum-based inks, but may take longer to dry.

UV Coating:
A liquid laminate bonded to a sheet and cured with UV light. This is good and bad. Good cause the UltraViolet light bonds the inks and liquid to your paper thus eliminating any waste. Bad cause there’s toxins in the liquid laminate to begin with.

As we’re building relationships with companies that have taken the lead in sustainable practices it’s becoming clear that there will be many varied approaches and discoveries in how to print safely.