Save and Go Green: Green Printing

A few months ago, I wrote an article about ways that you can save money and be eco-friendly when printing at home. When you want to more commercial quality printing or bulk printing, you can buy from environmentally friendly printing companies without sacrificing quality or price.

Green Printing History

Environmentally friendly printing techniques have been around for a number of years, but have only begun to really become mainstream in the last few years. Some of the main components of green printing include:

  • Using recycled paper.
  • Recycling any paper waste produced while printing.
  • Switching to vegetable based inks that have low VOCs.
  • Using new technologies such as digital printers.

Recycled Paper

Initially I thought that using recycled paper has only been used at most for 50 years in our country. After researching it a little, I realized that I was way off. There is a instance of a paper mill dating back to over 300 years ago that was using recycled linens to produce there paper. As time progressed, more and more recycled paper was being. Today, over half of our current paper use comes from recycled paper and that rate continues to grow.

Soy Based Inks

Just a decade ago, almost all of our ink used in America was produced using petroleum. In the mid to late 1980′s, the NAA or Newspaper Association of America researched many vegetable oil combinations to come up with soy oil to be used for ink. Since then, soy ink has taken off and really become popular over the past few years. What makes soy ink so great is that soybeans are much more environmentally friendly to grow that other vegetables and require little energy to actually produce the ink.

Even though soybean oil itself is edible, the ink that is made from it is not totally edible or biodegradable. This is caused by the fact that certain pigments used in traditional inks are still used in soy ink. Even though it is not 100% biodegradable, soy inks degrade much quicker than the petroleum counterparts and make it easier to remove from paper in the recycling process. Soy inks also have low levels of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that are dangerous toxic emissions. These low levels also make it much harder to use on coated types of paper like magazines and make it impossible to use in pens and personal printers.

Printing Technology

New printing technologies have also helped contribute to the green printing movement. Digital computers are much cleaner than traditional printing presses since they do not run on petroleum based products and there are no byproducts or emissions. They also do not emit harmful VOCs just like soy inks. Also, they require less space since there is less equipment needed.

Why go Green Printing?

At this point it should be pretty obvious for the reasons for printing companies to switch to new eco friendly printing technologies. New digital printing equipment combined with soy based oils and recycled paper can make a huge different for the environment. Petroleum products are eliminated from this process therefore helping eliminate any harmful emissions. This includes VOCs that can cause serious problems when inhaled by humans as well as significant damage to the ozone. Recycling is also a huge factor when it comes to eco friendly printing as it really help save trees from being cut down. A major concern with using recycled paper is the quality of the paper. As it turns out, there is no longer a quality difference in normal paper as compared to recycled.

There are many companies that have started to use these environmentally friendly printing techniques without sacrificing quality or raising there prices.

PSPrint Green Printing

PSPrint is a printing company that is providing environmentally friendly printing along with affordable prices. Not only do they use recycled paper on many of their products, but they also recycle any paper waste that is made during the process of printing. They also use soy based inks as described above on all of their printing products. Even though they are using eco friendly printing methods, PSPrint still carries all the normal products a printing company carries. They also have printing locations on both the East coast and West coast. This eliminates shipping costs for the company to help them reduce costs and helps reduce carbon emissions. They have really good prices too and have a Low Price Guarantee. This guarantees that if you find a lower price at another company, they will match that price.

Another company that is going the green route is BizCard. They are a Green Seal certified company and only buy from certified paper mills. Most of their products use recycled paper and they recycled all of their paper waste. The company uses low VOC solvents such as soy ink. Much of their equipment is Energy Star certified. They also use digital presses, which eliminate the chemicals used in making plates.

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  1. This is cool, i never new there can be eco friendly printing. I was thinking the papers are eco friendly by default but it seems to be a different story here. Thanks for the advice.

    • Jo
    • October 20th, 2008

    Here is a great site that has many resources on eco-friendly printing. It contains information on recycling, equipment, and inks.

  2. My boss, who is a little older, always prints up his emails, which drives me crazy. I guess for him, it is like the email isn’t real unless he can touch it.

    I will have to check this out see if I can start buying some more eco-friendly supplies for work, because as many emails as he gets, it really is a waste.

    Tigers last blog post..Mike Utley: A True Mobility Hero

  3. When we have the digital media with us, we should keep printing to the minimum extent possible.

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