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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.

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.

It’s your choice…

It’s your choice…

It’s your responsibility…

It’s your world.

We are acutely aware of the resources we use within our processes. We endeavour to offer credible options to deliver eco-friendly solutions wherever we can. However, it’s down to you, to what you want. You make the decision.

Paper… we have a wide range of papers, with different accreditations for sustainability. We can help you learn more about the different grades of sustainability within paper production. Ask us and we can carbon offset your paper by planting additional trees.

Ink, we have options for printing with Soy-based inks, it’s a different process with a different result, but design for the process and you can still achieve great results.

In a world where we are obsessed with laminated finishes on business cards, do you need it, how often, once you’ve got back to your office desk, do you file them in a box or index, and then it’s done? Do you need it?  One true case study, we were challenged by a pub-restaurant to find a better solution to their menus where the laminate was peeling off, we specified a polyester material which we could directly print on, which it’s matt characteristics matched the current matt laminate. Interestingly they now have fewer re-prints in a year, their menus have stayed more presentable for longer, plus they can be recycled straight into plastic (unlike a laminate which is like your Tetrapak, which is currently unsupported in most recycling facilities). So a win-win solution.

Garment printing, we have a choice between different transfer print methods, which either sit a vinyl/plastisol on top of the fabric, or sublimation which fuses a dye into the fabric. The offering of water-based inks might be another option which can increase the eco credentials. You can choose a fabric with different eco properties, however, do your research, is it what you expect. (One of our team has done a bit of research into this). The garment printing sector is currently seeing a vast evolution of options to enhance the eco-credentials within the sector.

Posters and banners, again the choice is yours, looking at the technology you use, the banner cases, the mechanisms, can be key to the sustainability. Are you better-having something with inter-changeable graphic skins? We use a latex ink, where some of our competitors might use a solvent based ink to print the graphic.

We also have a policy to prolonging the lifespan of production equipment, minimising the initial carbon impact of these pieces of equipment in there manufacturing.

It’s also worth remembering that print-based marketing has a smaller carbon footprint than digital marketing since carbon emissions are only produced once during the creation of the product. Meanwhile, carbon emissions occur every time someone uses a digital device.

Ultimately, asking about the anticipated lifespan of your product is the key.  If it is short term, then thinking about the options might be wise. The world we live in is changing so much, the younger generations are keen to see accountability towards sustainability. Can you afford to ignore their value sets, especially if they are a key to growing your business or organisation?

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