Most businesses use a lot of paper to print business cards, brochures, on-site reports and many other things. Many of the supplies used for printing are dangerous to the environment. The majority of paper stocks are unsustainably harvested and inks are made from petroleum and harmful chemicals. While it might seem impossible, there are a few small changes that you can make so that your printing will be as eco-friendly as possible. None of these changes will affect the quality or overall price of your printing.
You need to choose the right paper stocks if you want to be eco-friendly with your printing. Most paper stocks are treated with chlorine, harmful adhesives and the trees are irresponsibly harvested. If you want to be eco-friendly, then there are two things that you can do to improve your paper usage.
The first thing that you should do is to buy recycled paper. Try to get 100 percent recycled paper because this stock uses the least amount of new resources, but 70 percent recycled paper isn’t bad. Recycled paper sometimes feels a little scratchier than normal paper, but this only applies to common stocks. Paper meant for business cards, photos and brochures should be smooth even if the stocks are recycled.
The other thing that you should look for is paper that has an FSC certification. This certification shows that the paper was sustainably harvested and that few chemicals were used to turn the wood into paper.
The vast majority of inks are made with dangerous petroleum-based chemicals that are harmful both to people and the environment. It’s better to use soy-based or vegetable-based inks that are easier to produce and have much less of an impact on the environment. These inks carry pigments just as well as petroleum-based inks. This means that your printing will look as bright as ever without any noticeable differences.
Another benefit is that these inks come off easier. This won’t affect you because the ink will stay affixed to the paper. This benefits recycling centers that use special chemicals and processes to remove the ink so that the paper can be recycled and reused.
It’s a good idea to print on both sides of the sheet whenever possible. This costs less and it cuts your paper usage in half. While there might be times when you cannot print on both sides for one reason or another, at least 80 to 90 percent of your projects can be printed on both sides of the sheet.
If you want to make this easier, then just buy a printer that offers duplex printing. The printer will flip the sheets for you so that you don’t have to do any manual work. If you don’t have the funds for this, then you can still do this with a simplex printer. Print all of the odd numbered pages and then flip the sheets and print the even numbered pages on the other side.
Many paper stocks has a luxurious coating that feels smooth and makes the paper shine. This is great with brochures, business cards and photos because it makes the printing look more vivid and the paper feels better when you touch it. At the same time, most sheets have a UV coating. This is a petroleum-based coating that is finished with UV radiation. There is a good alternative that is only slightly softer, but very few people can readily tell the difference.
An aqueous coating is based on water and other chemicals that are deemed eco-friendly because they don’t have much of an impact on the environment. Many print shops are now offering aqueous coatings for free because this service is becoming more popular. This coating has all of the same benefits of a UV coating. The only difference is that it’s better for the environment.
Printing consumes a lot of material and many of the inks and coatings are based on petroleum and other dangerous chemicals. While you will have to change your printing practices, being eco-friendly isn’t that difficult if you know what to change. These small changes will save you money while providing you with quality prints.