What Is Sustainable Print?

by Tim English - VP Superior Business Solutions on April 17, 2014

All this talk about sustainable print and responsible forestry is important, especially for a marketing company that relies heavily on print as an essential marketing enablement strategy. In a digital business world, print can introduce some much-needed freshness to the way you market your brand; it can drastically increase the effectiveness of your message, but sustainability really is important. So what is sustainable print?

Getting the Big Picture of Sustainability

When looked at through the magnifying glass of everyday work and life, it’s difficult to see the cost of individual companies not tackling issues of sustainability. But take a step back and see the broader picture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that the United States uses about 69 million tons of paper and paperboard every year. And each year more than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published.

This seems a problem too vast to cope with, but sustainable print is recycled print, and in 2012 the U.S. EPA reported that paper products account for more than half of all recyclables by weight – about 44 million tons, which amounts to a recycling rate of about 65 percent.

Being a part of raising that recycling percentage isn’t the only thing companies can do to make the use of paper more sustainable though. Follow printing’s trail and you’ll find there are more things you can do than print less and recycle more.

Working with local vendors helps support the local economy and reduces ozone-depleting emissions that come from shipping and transport. Optimizing the size of the printing sheet reduces press sheet waste. Using processed chlorine free paper reduces the toxic sludge in the recycling process by reducing the bleaching process.

And then, of course, there are all the eco-friendly inks, foils, post-consumer waste paper, and other options out there for companies willing to make their print more sustainable. Click here for more information on these effective methods of printing sustainability.

Grow Your Brand. Green Your Brand

So, what is sustainable print? Sustainable printing best practices come from many different parts of the printing and paper cycle. The more aware a business is about the options open to them, the more eco-friendly they are able to be. Your brand can flourish from these efforts. Customers are more conscious of green issues than ever, and many consumers say they are more likely to support an enterprise taking action in these issues. But what better reason do we need to pursue sustainable print than our own eco-friendly responsibility?

(image courtesy of flickr)

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