Best Practices for Greener Printing
When selecting your printer, look for the following:
- Are they local? Aim for a printer within 100 miles of you (or better still, within 100 miles of where the final printed piece will be distributed).
- Are they FSC Certified? FSC certification ensures that the paper used comes from sustainably-managed forests
- Are they certified by a legitimate third-party environmental group? While it doesn't provide a guarantee, legitimate certification can ensure your printer takes these issues seriously
- Are they powered by a renewable energy source?
- If not directly powered by renewable energy, do they offset their energy use by purchasing renewable energy credits from a legitimate provider? (Like Green-e)
- Do they have a formal environmental policy in operation? What is it?
- Do they have a formal energy reduction policy in operation? What is it?
- Do they have a formal waste reduction/recycling policy in operation? What is it?
- Do they provide a formal benefits program and regular safety training for their employees? A printer should respect their staff as much as they respect the environment.
- Are they willing to discuss the above issues with you? Environmentally-aware printers should be open to educating you about their processes, as well as willing to learn themselves.
Additional ways to green the printing process
- Use our Project Calculator to minimize paper waste during the printing process.
- Consider using digital or waterless printing to reduce overall VOC emissions.
- FTP your files instead of providing hardcopy materials.
- Proof on screen as much as possible to reduce paper waste.
- Use makereadies, overruns, reclaimed materials, or other scrap paper as the base stock.
Related terms: chemical plates, Cradle to Cradle, flexography, isopropyl alcohol, genetically modified organisms (GMO), letterpress, lithography, print on demand (POD), screen printing, UV inks, vegetable-based inks, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), waterless printing