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The big nasty evil……

That is how I was tongue in cheek described as last week. It really does seems that the world is going mad. Sustainability is a serious concern we actively approach as printers. We are well aware of the resources we use to produce our clients’ work.

Greenwashing as it is effectively known as, is the myths created to disprove creditable sources. Or if you want ”Fake News”, Paper is a sustainable product, it is a harvested product. For every tree used in paper manufacture, of which paper is made up of virgin and recycled pulp, more trees are planted than harvested. The paper industry goes a long way to prove this.

Paper is a product, which can be composted, returning the matter back to a carbon-rich source, which is locked in the ground. Paper can be recycled as mentioned back into itself. Our paper recycling heads, less than 10 miles to be turned into cardboard tubes. If that sort of low mileage and low carbon footprint makes it even more credible. Paper always has been the biologically friendly form of communication and has been recycled. I can remember a Scout Group back in Coventry which had a big success with this organised activity back in the 1970s/80s.

So where’s the evidence, The print and paper industries have always been very prominent about being truthful about the credibility and accountability of what we do. It’s worth taking a look at where the global paper and print industries demonstrate the facts.

So here’s what we do to prevent the nasties of plastic….

  • Only specify laminates where a product is a long term product, so not disposable
  • Use recycled plastic biro’s in our studios and offices
  • Have compostable cups at our water dispenser

The ink we use in our digital presses is 94% compostable, we have solutions which offer a soy-based ink as well. Our large format machines use a latex ink, which is a water-based ink, with the pigment carried in a latex, which is sub-form of rubber.

Ultimately, it is a case of it’s easy to throw stones, however, the responsibility to be ecologically aware and responsible citizens rests with everyone. The advent of digital communications, with e-mail, social media and online, whilst might seem responsible not for using physical resources at the point of consumption, digital uses significant power, to create, to upload, store and then re-use and redistribute. Questioning the how much and the wherefores around digital online content.

Boundaries are just imagined

Everyone sets boundaries, sometimes it’s for comfort, others for self-belief. Today has taught me a few things, implementing what you know if highly powerful. To question what you are doing is the very tools of what helps you to stretch the boundaries. I remember a training session I was in 10 years ago which described this as the map is not the territory, suppose today it’s almost a virtual world with infinite horizons.

Without knowledge and education, the wall art I installed this morning, wouldn’t have been as successful as it was. The client was wanting to create something; however, we were well aware their budget wasn’t where it needed to be. So pull out some of the grey matter of Richard Smith’s (Lecturer) History of Art and Design from my ND in Graphic Design at Coventry Technical College enabled a result. Or utilising a “Tromp l’oeil” effect;

Trompe-l’œil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture.

Whilst the business tackles all sorts of projects around Graphic Arts, Printing and stunning visual stuff, we only achieve what we do, for stretching the boundaries (both in the past and now). Let’s face it design is only derived from a designer’s experiences and influences, which shape the result of the individual’s labours. So, is “experience” the new currency?

As the day progressed, an early afternoon video conference call with a business networking connection was scheduled. It was titled up as business cards, which I was keen to understand why, In the current Covid-19 restriction environment we are operating in, the connection was after some. A varied conversation followed, and, learning how and what this lady did within her business, it became apparent, that a different print marketing tool was required, Promo Cards… to provide more flexibility and to unpack her business more. So yet again the boundaries had been set, almost like the inner square of the cricket pitch in this case, when to be able to reach for SIX’es on the boundary is what was required.

We have learnt that over the years, as a printer, and graphic communication professional, it always pays to ask questions, helping our customers to ensure they are getting what they need. I always believe a job done right, results in the customer returning. The only question is, are you wearing blinkers which stop you seeing beyond your boundary?

Is being responsible the hardest thing?

All too many are abandoned.

For any of you that know me reasonably well. I do make the effort and pound the pavement or jog through the woods, in an attempt to stay reasonably fit in body and mind. The one thing which has struck an accord in the last week is the number of abandoned, discarded face masks. No matter where I am, walking Finn or out on a run, or even blowing around the car park outside the business, they are everywhere.

We’ve started to see them washing up on beaches, ending up in the canals we are getting consumed by these necessary but evil waste generating item. It is fair to say, as a business, my ethics lead the way for the tone of what we do. I use cloth masks, which are washable, instantly cutting down the waste mountain. It seems like naivety or arrogance leads the way, through least cost, quick win, the disposable culture we have bread ourselves into.

The commercial rush of Covid-19 has brought about some real nasties, in our lack of environmentally conscious solutions. The commercial quick win, make a quick buck culture, as seen grossly overpriced items, see some of the latest news which the government was stung with for the NHS. Equally, I’ve watched businesses in certain hygiene sectors, use the hype as a way of inflating prices (I’m privileged to see some of the supply chains), morality has dropped as the pandemic has edged into commercial greed.

I can reassure you, we still, use plastics only where needed/required, ensuring when they are used, they are for a long lifespan. We actively recycle, with our user to waste conversion taking place as locally as is possible. We encourage our customers and associates to be environmentally conscious and aware of what they are doing, with the best solutions to fit their needs.

Our banner pricing remains competitive and any solutions we prepare for Covid-19 measures enforcement match previous pricing policy where possible. We are aware of stock issues on certain garment lines, such as head tube scarfs/hats, but we will endeavour to do what we can, as responsibly as we can. 

It seems a very bazaar paradox, that the planet recovered slightly whilst we had less on the roads and aircraft in the skies, that we are now polluting the planet with facemasks.

Stay safe, be responsible, and we will all will catch up face to face soon.

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