You, Me, & Sustainability... The Art of Green Printing

You, Me, & Sustainability... The Art of Green Printing

The concept of sustainable business practices is an abstract ideology with very tangible applications. What is sustainability, and how does it extend beyond the "green" movements that continue to gain popularity in the new millennium? Simply put, sustainability is more than the transition to recyclable materials.

As highlighted in Dr. Doreen Monteleone's article " Defining Sustainable Green Printing Practices," an organization's sustainability is reliant on its ability to fully embrace green practices, thus creating a healthier work environment and a drastically reduced ecological footprint. Example: you've made the push for recycling all paper waste. Congratulations-- you are now a "green" company. But are you sustainable? Not quite. The end of your printing processes may be more tree-friendly, but you haven't accounted for the energy consumption of your power -sucking vampire of an office plotter, toxic gases emitted from  chemical-laden, high-volatile organic compound (VOC) inks, or the toxic industrial wastewater generated by your media vendor. Overwhelmed yet? Bare with me.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and sustainable businesses aren't transformed in a week. Or a month, or a year! Restructuring your production model is a process toward which thought and time need to be invested. If your firm currently utilizes energy leeches (often manifesting in the forms of older wide format printer models, desktop PCs, and office copiers,) consider phasing these items out and replacing them with Energy Star®compliant equipment. Energy Star®-endorsed machines meet federal standards for energy efficiency and turn off after periods of inactivity. Printer and computer manufacturers recognize the demand for power conservancy and are in-step with their consumers, discontinuing less efficient models in favor of newer energy-saving products.

HP, a leader in the sustainable printing arena, recently released two new wide format models that are Energy Star®, PEFC™, and FSC® certified. Pairing these endorsements with the vast variety of post-consumer and/or recyclable HP media available and low-VOC ink means less impact on the environment and increased savings in your energy bill.

While laser printers do often have greater volume capacity and durability when compared to their inkjet counterparts, take into consideration how much you really need to print. If you're making the commitment toward waste reduction, maybe it's time to assess how much of your daily output can remain digitized. And when hard copies prevail (as they will, even in this advancing technological age,) try scaling down those "extra" plan sets. Rather than sending three full-size sets of your 28-page architectural document to your plotter, consider transitioning to a single full-size set and two at half-size. You'd be amazed at how far a few tweaks may propel you toward your sustainable business goals!

For more information on green innovations that continue to improve the wide format printing industry, feel free to contact us. We'd love to hear how your company is implementing sustainable printing processes and see how we can help amplify your efforts!