Green printing is often overlooked by companies as a necessary element in going green. Sometimes this is due to the misconception that once a company has chosen to print on recycled paper, there is nothing else to be done to keep collateral green. Although it is becoming industry standard for paper to have at least a partially recycled content, printed recycled stationary, envelopes or business cards does not end there.
Printers can use inks or processes which make the use of recycled paper almost moot as far as having any ecological value. Some of the things that can make your recycled letterhead and matching envelopes not green are UV coating and Film Lamination which are on top of the list, including using petroleum based inks. Why use recycled paper if it is just going to be slathered with oil?
The benefits of using a green printer go beyond making a standing commitment to being green and leaving a smaller carbon footprint behind. Of course going green makes you feel better about your choices in life, but often times “feeling good” comes at a price. Not with Green Printing. Soy inks and recycled content paper is comparable in price and sometimes a little less expensive than regular products which are more commoditized, thus causing price fluctuations with the market. Additionally, using a printer more concerned with their carbon foot print comes with the benefit of having a printer who is more involved with the process and who cares deeply about their product and environment.
The major push for green printers has come from the Non Profit community although this sector of business does not always capitalize on the benefit of advertising it’s use of green products. Green Printers who are Forest Stewardship Council ™ certified through the Rainforest Alliance ™ Smartwood Program have taken the extra step to adhere to chain of custody demands which start with the fair treatment of both workers and the land forests are harvested from. Unfortunately, most people cannot easily identify recycled paper from regular paper or soy inks from petroleum based inks. Green Printers who are certified are allowed to print FSC® and Rainforest Alliance bugs on FSC certified material allowing consumers to easily identify a company’s commitment to the environment. Although non profits are leading the way in use of FSC materials, commercial businesses who are also going green in their production are the true leaders in the use of the FSC bugs for green and commercial value.