|How to Find a Green Printer: More Than Recycled Paper|
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012 01:00 | Written by Steve Graham | Article|
Robert Rodriguez prints most of his projects on recycled paper, but his sustainability crusade doesn’t stop there. He also seeks out safe, chemical-free inks and low-energy, low-waste printing presses. Rodriguez is the manager of Paper Tiger, an independent, environmentally focused printing company in Santa Fe, NM. The shop is one of many environmentally focused printing companies around the country. Most are trying to green their complete printing operations—and to educate customers to demand sustainability when choosing a commercial printer.
“We think about the entire process from beginning to end. It’s not just about the final product,” Rodriguez said. For the printing industry, printing processes and ink choices have more significant environmental impacts than the paper itself. The life-cycle eco-footprint of a box of business cards or stack of corporate reports can be high, if not mitigated.
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Indigo Ink in Maryland also uses vegetable inks, and it powers its facility with wind turbines. Bacchus Press in San Francisco does the next best thing by buying carbon offsets for all of the energy it consumes. It also uses vegetable- and soy-based inks.
Only as Good as the Paper
Green Printer and other companies offer Mohawk papers, which are 100% recycled, eco-certified and manufactured with wind power. It is important to remember though, that paper fibers eventually breakdown so they can be recycled only a limited number of times. Other options include sustainably sourced paper made from bamboo and other fast-growing, renewable fibers.
For more printing options, check out the list of printing companies certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership As of October 2009, the company had listed only eight printers, but that is seven more than you need for a printing job.
The Environmental Protection Agency also lists several printing companies powered by renewable energy, but does not factor in other sustainable practices.
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