Recycling symbol on PaperAs a result of the growing climate change crisis, the demand for sustainability has been amplified over recent years.

But when we think of sustainability, we don’t often think of the print industry.

Printing has gained a bit of a bad rap for being destructive to the environment. Mainly due to deforestation, the oils used to create ink and the sheer volume of printed marketing materials we see every day.

However, the tide is changing. The industry is starting to move with the times in a bid to become more environmentally friendly.

We take a look at two of the ways printers are reducing their impact on the environment…

Responsible paper sourcing

Printers go through A LOT of paper and other materials, so many are beginning to take proactive steps to ensure all their resources come from sustainable sources.

Using recycled paper is a great place to start; paper fibres can be recycled repeatedly up to five times! Plus, it requires less water and energy to produce, helps cut down on the amount of paper going to landfill and contributes less to overall carbon emissions than regular paper.

Alternatively, FSC paper (which has been certified as sustainably sourced) is another option to help limit the impact of deforestation. Unlike recycled paper, which doesn’t always return high-quality prints, FSC paper is indistinguishable from standard paper — leading many printers to opt for this choice.

Responsible paper sourcing also goes beyond the paper fibres themselves: coating, bleaching and many other variables all influence paper’s environmental impact. As such, many printers are taking a more holistic approach — choosing to source paper from eco-conscious suppliers who use renewable energy or hybrid vehicles to transport materials, for example.

Using vegetable-based inks

Unfortunately, resolving the paper issue is only half the battle for the print industry. There’s also the ink to think about.

Traditionally, inks have been made using petroleum oil — a non-renewable resource which releases high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. However, many printers are now starting to invest in alternative methods that are less damaging to the environment.

Vegetable and plant-based inks — usually made with soy — are more sustainable and release only small amounts of VOCs. As these types of ink lend themselves better to de-inking, they can also be readily recycled.

Demonstrating commitment

As a whole, the print industry is clearly listening to the demand for sustainability — taking notably positive and decisive steps to help make working practices more environmentally friendly.

At A3 Design & Print, we’re incredibly proud of both our FSC and World Land Trust ‘carbon balanced’ certifications, which demonstrate our commitment to the environment and sustainability. These accreditations show we are actively seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of our industry — using wood, paper and other products made with materials from properly managed forests and recycled sources. We are delighted to offer paper produced with eco-friendly manufacturing practices, as well as giving our customers the option to use biodegradable soy ink.

Moreover, while it’s clear we’re passionate about sustainable printing at A3 Design & Print, we have also made a special effort to choose Opus as our energy provider — one of few providers in the UK to use renewable sources for electricity.

To find out more about our work and how we are minimising our impact on the environment along the way, please get in touch today.