Ten Steps to a Greener Print Shop, Part 1

We’re taking a look at 10 steps you can take to having a greener print shop. We’re breaking it up into two posts, so be sure to check for the next five next time.

1. Get a handle on your environmental impact, then reduce it.

You can’t claim you’re practicing sustainable printing unless you have a clear understanding of where you were at when you started, what you’ve done to be “greener” and exactly how much of an impact each of those practices has made. Otherwise, you’re just blindly buying up recycled “green” paper stock and vegetable dyes without a plan or understanding of exactly how this is going to change your business.

And remember, being a green printing company goes beyond offering alternative paper options. It means reducing your own waste and changing your office culture – from composting in the lunch room to offering incentives to employees who carpool or use public transit.

2. Offer print-on-demand and custom quantity services

Forcing your customers to print 1500 copies of their annual report when they only need 800 is not green printing. Instead, start offering custom quantities on an as-needed basis. Out of all the sustainable printing strategies, this could be the one that reduces the most waste.

3. Use bigger sheets more wisely

It takes a lot of energy to create one sheet of paper, so make the most out of every single sheet of paper that comes through your shop. Do runs on larger sheets, use both sides whenever possible and reduce your own internal paper usage.

4. Switch to an all-digital work flow

This sustainable printing strategy is going to depend on the software you’re using (a decision that we here at Lloyd’s of Indiana can help you with), but switching to an all-digital work flow will not only reduce your labor costs, it’ll cut down on your paper consumption too.

5. While you’re at it, switch to digital proofs too

Whenever possible, use soft proofs with clients. In other words, email a copy of the proof to a client instead of printing it, packaging it and then having it couriered over to their office. We understand this isn’t always possible, but even a 15% reduction in the number of proofs you ship or mail can have a huge impact.

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