We are in the printing industry and we are also responsible people and that leads to thoughts of greener printing. A lot of things are being done today in terms of making the print industry greener. The result is that printing is now one of the greenest industries around.

One of the first things to get tackled of course was paper recycling and efficiency. The less paper that is wasted, the greener we are. Almost all forms of paper are now recycled from paper-towels to card stock. Here are some facts you may not know:

  • 70% of all junk mail is printed on recycled paper.
  • 51.5 Million tons of paper was recovered from recycling in 2010.
  • Only 11% of cut forest trees are used in the paper industry.

Next, inks got a close look and some tough love. Today, soy based inks are preferred by most printers, including newspapers, because they lower costs, look crisper, colors are brighter, and the cost to recycle paper printed with soy inks is less than if the inks are petroleum based.

Digital printing eliminated some of the other sources of pollution. Twenty years ago, it was not uncommon to burn a metal plate that was then covered with ink and pressed onto a sheet of paper to print the image. A separate metal plate was made for each of the colors in four-color printing which is why it was more expensive. But with digital printing the whole image can be printed without the need for a paper or metal plate to be created. This especially eliminates the need for recycling of the metal plates. Digital printing has also eliminated the preparation in which artwork had to be photographed. Remember the phrase, “camera ready?” That is now obsolete as the image can be printed directly from a digital file.

The greening of printing has been a rapid process and one that printers and customers alike appreciate. We know we love the new papers and the healthier-inks. It’s our planet too! Statistics courtesy of Print is Big.