All You Need To Know About Green Printing
In a world under the threat of global warming, industries are always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. And printing has made some steps through green printing. It a concept that many printing industries have adopted. This umbrella term circles many techniques. But to better understand what it consists of, you must first understand how regular printing affects the environment.
The most obvious thing about printing that affects the environment negatively is paper waste. As much as communication has turned digital, paper is still dominant. Unfortunately, most of this paper reaches the end of its lifespan in a matter of days, with no recycling. Wastage leads to demand, and the cycle will continue endlessly. Additionally, ink and toner cartridges may contain volatile organic compounds and heavy metal in the ink, which cause soil, and water pollution if disposed of incorrectly.
What Is Green Printing?
Green printing is a broad term used to describe the application of eco-friendly innovations in printing. It touches on the three main elements: the ink, printing materials, and printing technology. These techniques go a long way in reducing waste, pollution, and energy consumptions. Overall, they make the production process ‘more green.’
Green Printing Techniques
Green printing techniques are spread across three main platforms.
Eco friendly technologies are on the rise. Manufacturers are attempting to correct how this equipment negatively affects the environment. They have made significant progress too. Many industries now use eco-friendly printing technology. Some common applications include:
- LED UV Printing. LED UV printing is now commonly used to produce marketing items such as leaflets, brochures, and posters. It features an instant drying process but retains vivid and bright results. It is a green option because it consumes less energy than regular printers. This is thanks to the instant on and off functionality.
- Digital Printing. Digital printing is a form of printing that does not require printing plates to complete the work since the ink sits on the substrate’s top player. This means that there is less waste than traditional forms of printing.
- Water-less Printing. This printing method eliminates water for the lithographic printing process, which is known to cause maximum harm to the environment. Instead, it uses harmless chemicals to print the colors onto the surface. Therefore, it helps to conserve water.
Inks with petroleum bases contain harmful chemicals that will cause harm to the environment. They contribute to water and soil pollution. Luckily, manufacturers have developed green inks that have fewer adverse effects on the environment. The most common types of green ink you will find in the market are:
- Vegetable Oil-Based Inks. These are inks made from renewable vegetable sources including linseed, and cottonseed. These sources are natural elements that manufacturers can recycle to make more ink. Best of all, they do not contain any harmful chemicals that harm the environment after disposal.
- Soy Inks. These are similar to vegetable inks in that they do not have any volatile compounds. As the name suggests, the base is soy, so the ink is gentle on the environment. Additionally, you can use soy ink in other types of ink, and it is easy to recycle. This type of ink is more expensive than vegetable-based inks because it gives superior results.
The most notable innovations in eco-friendly printing are in print materials. After all, there is a lot of waste paper that comes from traditional printing. This waste leads to more demand, leading to cutting down of trees and energy consumption in the manufacture of paper. Manufacturers have found ways to create green materials used in printing. They are either from recycled materials or are 100% biodegradable. The most common applications today include:
- Carbon Balanced Paper. It is not uncommon to hear about this type of paper. Carbon balanced paper refers to any paper created by a manufacturer with offset carbon dioxide emissions. Manufacturers often offer this paper, and choosing this option helps to promote less carbon dioxide emissions.
- Recycled paper. As the name suggests, this is printing paper made from recycled paper. This is a unique green printing solution that helps curb the demand for trees to produce more paper. Manufacturers recycle paper to create new printing paper, dealing with demand while protecting the environment.
- Process Chlorine Free Paper (PCF). Bleaching practices in the production of paper spread harmful chemicals to the air and water, leading to pollution and damage to the ozone layer. Some manufactures have found ways to produce papers only bleached with natural compounds.
Duplex printing is another way for consumers to help protect the environment. It involves printing on both sides of the paper to cut the use of paper by half. This is still an effective form of green printing that rests in the hands of consumers.