Green means “go” in many ways.
On a traffic light, it means to proceed. In auto racing, the green flag signifies the start of the race, and the beginning of full racing after a cautionary period. It means everything is safe to proceed at full speed. In the environmental world, green is the color, symbol, and word for biodegradable and nature-friendly.
Arguably, green is the color of the past decade and one that’s causing a lot of debate between environmentalists and big businesses. And for now it seems the environmentalists are winning this war of attrition.
But that’s a good thing.
And the printing world is paying attention.
Just as other industries are taking a hard look at policies and practices that impact the environment, many in the paper industry have taken this challenge seriously. Some pulp and paper companies, and printers have committed to principles of corporate and social environmental responsibility, and organizations have formed to help define, recognize and credit those efforts.
It’s nothing new. For years printers have used recycled paper and paper products to conduct business. Lately, they’re now using biodegradable soy ink instead of others that could potentially harm the environment and people.
Printers who haven’t gone green yet though have many questions.
“Do I have to request a ‘green quote’ in order to receive eco-friendly printing?”
“Is green printing as good as conventional?”
“Is it expensive?”
“Where can I get the green equipment?”
“Is my competitor going green?”
“If so, how does the customer feel about it?”
“What’s in it for me besides helping the environment, I mean, is it profitable?”
We’ve discussed green printing on other posts here, here, and here (will link to three green posts), and we’ve come to one inescapable conclusion. Green printing is a popular decision and no more expensive than previously “non-green” methods.
Aside from environmentally-friendly paper products, many companies are creating ink from soy ink instead of petroleum, eliminating harmful fumes in the process and allowing for quicker drying. Printing houses produce what are known as volatile organic compounds, which are caused by the use of petroleum-based inks, laminates, varnishes and adhesives.
Past studies have shown that these compounds, when inhaled, greatly increase the risk of asthma attacks and other breathing ailments. As a result, measures are being adopted by many printers worldwide to comply with existing regulations and adopt environment-friendly practices.
By doing this and recycling and reusing paper and other supplies whenever possible, printing companies will be practicing what green printing is.