In today’s world there are many misconceptions around print having a negative impact on the environment. However, this is not true.
The truth is, print and paper use can be environmentally sustainable and can even have great benefits to the environment. In this article we will outline all we do to provide a sustainable service as we believe this is an important message to get across. We will also outline ways in which you can make your daily print needs more sustainable.
Having spent the last 24 months living through the pandemic, our focus being primarily on survival, we now need to focus on a more long-term survival threat – the destruction of our planet. Sustainability is something (now more than ever) we need to work on together, in a bid to make strides forward in making our future planet a sustainable one.
How sustainable can print be?
Paper is one of the most recyclable resources available. One piece of paper can be recycled and repurposed up to 7 times before it begins to lose its quality. This is because every time paper is recycled the fibers shorten, making it decrease in quality each time it runs the recycling process. It is also one of easiest materials to dispose of. Did you know that paper can fully decompose in as little as 2 weeks? You can also use most decomposed paper waste as compost!
But what about the trees?
In a recent study (2019) TWO SIDES found that 59% of European Consumers believe that European forests are shrinking, when in fact they have been growing by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every day. A third of consumers believe paper is a wasteful product and a quarter believe paper is bad for the environment. Often the source of these misconceptions is the abundance of misleading information about paper and its impact on the environment.
When print and paper use is managed responsibly, there is nothing making this resource damaging to the environment. In this article we will address keyways in which you can ensure your print and paper usage to be sustainable within your businesses.
What can you do?
Duplex Printing over Simplex Printing
Simplex printing is the industry term for one-sided print. Duplex printing is the industry term used for printing on both sides of the paper when printing multiple pages. It seems an ever-obvious solution to reducing your paper wastage but one that is often not an enforced policy within businesses. By enforcing duplex printing, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste generated from print as well as reduce costs spent on print materials. Most up to date printers should have settings which allow you to set duplex printing as default – allowing you to easily enforce this change within your business.
Another easy change to make is to provide a ‘box of scrap’ at each print station. If only one side of the paper has been used and it remains in good working condition, add it to the ‘box of scrap’. This paper can then be used for simplex printing for internal documentation. This is a great way of introducing your own internal recycling process.
Make your documents ‘green’ before they go to print
When producing your documentation, keep in mind what changes you can make to reduce the amount of print required. Below are 5 simple checks to make before sending to the printer.
- Remove unnecessary spacing
- Reduce font size to minimize ink usage
- Reduce image size and remove unnecessary images
- Opt for a pattern over a block colour if a background is required
- Proofread documentation to avoid need for reprint
These tips sound simple, but we can all be guilty of not thinking ahead when rushing to finalize the job at hand. However, by taking these extra few moments you can save on resource, energy and time if a reprint is then required.
Adoption of internal print management software and update old devices
By adopting print management software, your internal print usage could fall by 30%.
Updating your internal print devices is also a key factor to running a successfully sustainable business. Did you know that the electricity required to print 8,000 pages a month is equivalent to 158 kWh or 6,100 hours of laptop usage. By introducing ENERGY STAR certified devices, you can reduce your electricity consumption by 14%. We have recently partnered with Advance UK who can assist and advise you on your internal print requirements. Get in contact to discuss further.
Recycle your waste
This is the greatest change you can make to go green.
By recycling all of your waste paper you are supporting the bigger picture. You are preventing thousands of pieces of quality paper every day from going to landfills. You are supporting the repurposed use of that life cycle, that piece of paper could still be used up to 6 more times. You are preventing the need for new paper to be produced, reducing the overall energy resource that is required for generating paper. You are changing the mindset of your staff members and promoting them to take your recycling ethos away and apply it to their daily lives. But most importantly, you are decreasing the number of trees that are being cut down every day for paper resource, enabling us to keep up with the required amount of reforestation and rebuild the damage we have been causing as consumers. A simple act of enforcing recycling to your workplace, can results in significant changes to the environment.
Suppliers who are committed to Sustainability
When sourcing your print and paper materials, ensure to research the suppliers and ensure they are committed to sustainability. There are many suppliers out there who are working towards the same objective, to be sustainable and environmentally conscious. These suppliers will have processes in place which will ensure the resources they are supplying to you are sustainable and environmentally mindful.
What we do?
At the Printed Word, we pride ourselves on our efforts to support the environment that surrounds us. From where we source our materials, to how we recycle any waste, it is extremely important to our operation. Our waterless hybrid printing machines are amongst the most efficient printing presses on the market. Our Graylands estate site has solar panels installed, which generate significant amounts of power for the estate and further reduces our overall CO2 footprint. We source recycled paper material and will always encourage and opt to use this material as and when appropriate to do so. We have partnered with companies such as Advanced UK who can provide internal print services to support sustainable devices within the workplace. We are supporters of campaigns such as the ‘Love Paper’ campaign and work to raise awareness on the benefits of paper resources. Most importantly, we recycle everything we can.
Our latest news is we have installed EV (Electronic Vehicle) power stations at the factory and our Directors have all moved to fully electric or hybrid vehicles – promoting sustainable travel and encouraging other members of staff to consider an electric alternative when they are next in the market. We offer free charging to all employees who do decide to make the transition.
There are many more processes and services we are looking to implement over the upcoming months, but we will not stop there. Our efforts will continue in trying to find evermore sustainable materials and services we can offer. As a company, as a team and as individuals, we feel it is our duty to be committed to sustainability.
We offer a downloadable poster which can be printed and displayed above printing stations around your premises to encourage responsible printing – download yours today.