Eco Tip of the Week: Green Printing

Design by Lolaness

Eco tip submitted by Lolaness

Switching out to the more eco-friendly incandescent light bulbs, carpooling as much as possible, and taking a walk to the store a couple blocks away instead of driving it are all good ways to be green. But there are tons of other opportunities available to help you reduce your carbon footprint – and save trees doing it.

Living in the technology age, we’re constantly printing things out. We have business cards designed and printed on enormous offset presses that actually rank fouth among manufacturers in the amount of energy used. Producing paper (it takes 17 very large trees to make just one ton of paper), and the electricity used for factory operations requires massive amounts of energy – fossil fuels.

Factory printing houses also produce what are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are released by petroleum-based inks, laminates, varnishes, and adhesives. They create air pollution that increases the risk of asthma attacks as well as generally harming the environment. All-in-all, the major printing factories are major users of natural resources.

Want to help save forests, reduce pollution, and create a smaller carbon footprint? Here’s a few things to keep in mind when it comes to all the printing you do or have done:

1. Print only what you need. This should sound obvious, but many people have tons of products printed that they wind up not using. If you can print a few copies of something at home from a good design, you’re reducing the impact of extra papers, commercial printing waste, and shipping byproducts.

2. Choose eco-friendly print shops that offer double-sided printing, and specialize in “small runs” (many commercial print shops require purchasing thousands of business cards at a time, while you might only need a couple hundred to begin with).

3. Before printing or having something printed, proofread carefully! If you can print something right the first time, you save a ton of environmental impact.