sustainable printing

Print sustainability: A solution for an eco-friendly future

Posted in: News

Firstly, what is print sustainability?

In the modern world, print sustainability is necessary for businesses to have a conscience: an environmental conscience.

The topic of climate change is front and centre, with constant media coverage of everything from international initiatives like COP26, to domestic eco-warrior activists gluing themselves to motorways. We are told to recycle, up-cycle, cycle to work, etc… and businesses are keen to flex their eco-friendly credentials. After all, people like to do business with responsible businesses.

Fortunately, sustainable printing practices mean that you can increase your reach, while reducing your carbon footprint.

Sustainable printing reduces both your carbon, and your overall environmental impacts, by providing sustainable paper solutions, reducing waste, and recycling at every possible opportunity.

How to print sustainable

In the printing industry, we are fortunate to be working with one of the few, truly sustainable natural products on this earth – paper. Paper is made from wood pulp from trees, which as the lungs of the world play an indispensable role in climate and biodiversity protection. It is also one of the most recycled products in the world. When wood harvesting, pulp, and paper production is done responsibly, it’s done sustainably.

Advances in technology mean that not only are the printing methods ultra-eco, they’re ultra-high quality. Petroleum-based inks with their low sustainable ingredient list (only 2-15%) are being replaced by vegetable-based eco solvent alternatives, and waterless-based inks. These eco-inks are a nod to the original plant-based inks of old, but with as much as 40% of their ingredients made up of sustainable materials. And the advent of waterless technology in the printing process is set to revolutionise the printing world.

What type of printing is the most sustainable?

With so many green printing options available, it can be confusing to know which type of printing is the most sustainable. Let us explain a little more about what’s on offer.

Digital Printing

This plate-less printing method reduces ink waste significantly over traditional plate-printing. It is also very versatile, so it’s perfect for single copies, but also capable of large-scale print jobs. It’s one of the quickest and most cost-effective printing methods around.

Carbon Balanced Paper

One of the most sustainable print solutions available, paper becomes carbon balanced when the average emissions in the harvesting and production processes are offset. We do this, supported by the global conservation charity World Land Trust. Look for the logo, and love the results.

Uncoated Paper

Increasingly popular, uncoated paper is highly fibrous, and easily to recycle. Not only that, it feels lighter and more natural than coated paper, and still boasts impressive results.

Printing myths and facts

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so we wanted to take a moment to explain a few things about what the printing and paper industry has to offer.

Paper making is responsible for deforestation

Actually, the main causes of deforestation across the world are urbanisation, agriculture, and large-scale development projects. That isn’t to say trees aren’t cut down to make paper, of course they are. But organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international multi-stakeholder organisation, promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. This means that trees harvested for paper are replaced with new trees, for a sustainable paper future.

We can keep recycling paper, over and over (and over)

The number of times you can recycle paper depends largely on its quality. Each time paper passes through the recycling process, its fibres get shorter, so a maximum of seven times is the limit for making it back into paper. Once past its limit, paper can be recycled into paper paste, and used in items like newspapers and egg boxes.

Fresh wood pulp is essential to keep the recycling process going. Fortunately, that very demand is driving the sustainability wheel, with new trees planted for future generations, for every one removed for ours.

Go paperless – save trees

We know it’s important to drive down waste. That’s why Galloways is committed to waste reduction and can offer high-quality printing from a single copy. However, while paper can be harvested sustainably, and recycled after use, ELECTRICAL WASTE is quickly becoming the fastest waste growth streams worldwide. This is without taking into consideration the unsustainable rare earth minerals technology utilises. So going paperless and using technology may seem the environmentally friendly thing to do, but only paper can be fully – and responsibly – recycled.

Socially responsible printing

At Galloways, we recognise the importance of our environmental responsibilities, and continually seek to improve our environmental performance, minimising any negative impact.

We’re proud of our state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, eco-friendly printers, and the comprehensive waste management procedures across our business that drive down waste and increase recycling, like the 11,176 kilograms of aluminium we recycle every year. We’re a low energy consumption company. We support the use of Carbon Balanced Paper in our supply chain. That means our customers are playing their part to help combat global warming, and with 66% of global consumers saying they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands*, that’s good for business.


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