Sustainable printing methods are becoming more and more popular as individuals and businesses work to reduce their environmental footprint. Advances in technology allow print suppliers to produce sustainable printed material with no effect on quality.

litho1LED UV 2

Understanding what sustainable printing methods are available in the market is important if your business wants to show their eco-friendly credentials.

  1. LED UV Printing
  2. Recycled Paper (Explained)
  3. Digital Printing
  4. Carbon Balanced Paper
  5. Carbon Balanced Print

LED UV Printing

LED UV is the perfect printing method for brochures, booklets, leaflets and promotional material. Using ultraviolet light for an instant drying process, colours are left more vivid and the designs are much sharper - creating a lasting impact. 

In terms of the environmental viability of LED UV, it’s an exceptionally ‘green’ printing method. Firstly it uses much less power than traditional print-drying
technology and the instant on/off functionality reduces standby consumption
between jobs and reduces overall CO2 emissions. Secondly, the instant drying process means there’s no need for an anti-set off powder spray or a sealing coat. 

Recycled Paper (Explained)

Paper or stock choice can influence how sustainable a printing method actually is. With so much choice out there it can be confusing, but hopefully this will help clear things up.

We are often led to believe we should only be using recycled paper if we want to be more green. The truth is, virgin fibres are needed to maintain the paper cycle. Without new fibres, from new trees, the paper cycle cannot be maintained. Recycled fibres degrade after several uses and the paper industry needs fresh fibre to keep the renewable cycle going.

As long as the fresh fibres are from sustainably-managed forests you have the green light on using virgin paper or recycled paper.


Digital Printing

Digital printing doesn’t require a printing plate to complete the job. The ink sits on the top layer of the substrate, so this process produces significantly less waste than more conventional methods that require a plate. 

Digital print is great for smaller print runs,  another benefit of having no plate is that digital printing can be done in a quicker time than other methods.

Once printing has begun, a machine can complete up to 4,800 sheets per hour. If you need a smaller number of prints, digital printing is a very cost-effective method to use. 

Carbon Balanced Paper

You may have heard of Carbon Balanced Paper, but not know exactly what it means.

If the paper has been Carbon Balanced it means the average CO2 created during the entire paper production and mill delivery have been offset.

Printing supplier choosing to offer this paper as a stock option are allowing their clients to choose a more environmentally friendly option for their print jobs.

Carbon Balanced Print

This is a step up from choosing Carbon Balanced Paper because not many print suppliers go the extra mile to achieve the Carbon Balanced Printer status. Basically, the process involves measuring the CO2 outputs of the whole company. 

After this is determined, the print supplier invests in ways in which its CO2 output can be lessened or even reversed to balance the entire print process. 

A print supplier can use hybrid or electric vehicles, use automatic lighting and even ensure all the windows of their building are double-glazed. Once all these measures have been taken and the CO2 output is at an absolute minimum the company will offset the unavoidable carbon.

These are just some of the ways a print supplier can use sustainable printing methods to lower their environmental impact. As someone who is in need of professional print services, how can you ensure your print supplier is using the most eco-friendly practices as possible? The first thing you can do is use our Green Printing Checklist.

Determine if Your Print Supplier Is Eco-Friendly

The Green Printing Checklist is the one-stop document you need to discover the best eco-friendly printing practices. You can use it when deciding which print supplier to work with, as it gives you the info on requirements a green printer should fit.

You’ll be able to look into printing methods, stock types and even the practices employed by the company on a day-to-day basis, such as their energy usage or recycling success.

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Topics: Print Techniques