The environmental issues of the printing industry are essentially those of office printing, on a grand scale. See the Greening Guide chapters on paper and ink. Many printers continue to use paper that is not chlorine-free nor produced with recycled content, as well as traditional inks that may emit VOCs and be harmful to employees who work with it.
Before purchasing printing services from a provider, make sure that the materials and practices they use are sustainable. The Solid Waste Management Controlling Board has compiled the following list of recommended requirements for printers:
- Vegetable-based and recycled (filtered) inks; avoid inks containing heavy metals.
- Recycled-content (30% minimum content) and tree-free blend papers; PCF – process chlorine-free is the best environmental choice.
- Alcohol-free printing processes.
- Solvents free of toluene and methylene chloride.
- Paper recycling and reuse programs.
- Workplace safety and accident reduction programs.
Consider these environmentally responsible printing suggestions for your office:
- Print materials that need frequent updating in smaller quantities to reduce over-printing.
- Encourage clients and other relevant parties to obtain information from your company’s website rather than printed materials.
- Choose printing service providers that practice sustainability.