How to Green Your Catalog

Want to start printing greener catalogs? Maybe you want to delve into sustainable or green papers and inks? Here’s how:

1. Choose virgin “green” or “sustainable” paper

By stocking sustainable or green paper, you can offer more choices to your customers that are both environmentally friendly and humane. The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) are two different bodies that both audit and certify forest managers and loggers in terms of their environmental sustainability as well as cultural and local responsibility.

2. Try recycled paper

Another green printing option is recycled paper stock. You can start at 10% recycled content and work your way up to 100% recycled (meaning the paper is made from 100% post-consumer materials). The recycled content of a stock can affect its finish and its gloss, however many designers have not only worked around this, they’ve made the “character” of 100% recycled paper part of the design itself.

3. Organic and non-toxic ink choices

Instead of depending on traditional, petroleum-based inks, opt for ink choices that are biodegradable and non-toxic. Not only are these inks better for the Earth, they’re better for your health.

4. Think about the long-term uses of that catalog

To make your catalogs as green as possible, try to make them as evergreen as possible, meaning they’ll be applicable and up-to-date for as long as possible. Also, encourage readers to recycle by including a “Recycle Me” logo on the back.

And remember, “green printing” goes beyond stocking sustainable paper or printing catalogs with corn ink. You have to make a commitment to also change your own internal policies. Are you recycling at your shop? How are you disposing of potentially toxic waste? Are you minimizing your waste? And what are you doing to buy locally?

How are you making your shop greener and what sort of green printing products are you offering your catalog customers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

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