1. Use 100% recycled paper.
Brands of recycled paper just keep increasing every week. And printing on recycled paper is one of the easiest ways printers can help keep the planet green. Astrolite PC 100 is the cleanest and smoothest 100% recycled paper available. It’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which means it’s made of only 100% post-consumer recycled fiber.
Paper certified by the FSC and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) means that responsible forestry practices have been followed. Only 10% of the world’s forests are certified by these organizations, meaning any printer that is certified by either group or that uses certified paper has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect the environment.
Other 100% recycled paper brands include Genesis, Synergy, ENVIRONMENT papers and Save-A-Tree.
2. Use paper that was not bleached with chlorine.
In the old days in the U.S., paper was given its bright white color by bleaching it with chlorine. This bleaching process released cancer-causing dioxin into the atmosphere and into the Earth’s waterways. Now the Environmental Protection Agency has required that most paper be elemental chlorine free, or ECF, which means paper must be bleached from chlorine derivatives, such as chlorine dioxide. This significantly reduces dioxin pollution, but doesn’t completely eliminate it.
Printers can also choose process chlorine free papers (PCF) that have been bleached with oxygen-based compounds that don’t eliminate dioxin pollution, but severely hampers it. Paper that is bleach totally chlorine free (TCF) would be great, if only it didn’t apply to only 100% virgin paper, not recycled paper.
3. Use vegetable-based inks.
Many inks are petroleum-based, which contain ozone-damaging distillates and VOCs, volatile organic compounds. These compounds have been speculated to be cancer-causing and are at the least, irritating to the eyes, nose and throat. VOCs are chemicals that are used to manufacture office equipment, cleaners, pesticides and are released during the printing process. Vegetable-based inks have much lower VOC levels than petroleum-based inks.
4. Print standard sized booklets, brochures and posters.
Standard sizes are standard for a reason: they leave the least amount of paper waste on a printer. If printers can create a booklet that looks just as compelling at the standard size as the un-standard size requested by a client, the printer and the client will save the environment just by eliminating that print run’s waste. By creating a black or white border on the standard size, the booklet or brochure can appear to be the un-standard size desired.
5. Recycle all paper waste.
When you print a unique size of brochure, business card, etc., recycle all of the scraps. Even job orders or mock-ups that are no longer needed can be recycled. Using recyclable cartons and shipping boxes also contributes to a healthy environment.
6. Power up with renewable energy sources.
Printers can install solar panels on the roofs of their warehouses to lower electricity costs; others can operate solely by wind power. Printers can also buy renewable energy certificates to offset the emissions they aren’t able to eliminate.