How to reduce the environmental impact of printing
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Do you have business cards or stationery for your blog or organisation?
I’ve spent ages trying to find a printing company that can meet my needs for an ethical and eco-friendly business card.
My eco values are at the heart of what we do at Little Green Blog, so I want a business card that reflects these green credentials too.
Flyerzone is an innovative online printing company, fully committed to reducing its environmental impact. They have several measures in place including careful souring of paper, ethical resource management and the use of non-toxic inks.
Flyerzone understand that the less resources you use, the less waste you create and this automatically lowers your carbon footprint. In the UK alone, we throw away 30 million ink cartridges a year. Flyerzone use ink direct from drums rather than individual cartridges which reduces the use of plastic and landfill waste.
What I love about Flyerzone is they recognise that saving resources is a win-win. They can offer their customers lower prices whilst doing their bit for the environment. But it doesn’t stop there! Flyerzone are so committed to reducing waste they pay bonuses to people who come up with ideas about how they can work more efficiently!
The Flyerzone system has been assessed by BSI and they’re certified for ISO 14001, the Environmental Standard. They’re also certified for ISO 9001, the Quality Standard. That means a lot to me because let’s face it, some ‘green’ companies out there are offering second rate products simply by green washing.
Flyerzone source 99% of their paper from well managed forests which carries the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. FSC certified wood is tracked all the way through production until it ends up as your finished printing. Half of the timber harvested worldwide is used to make paper, so it’s vital we show our support of responsible use of this precious commodity by sourcing FSC products.
12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used annually in the UK and one of the aspects that excites me most about Flyerzon is the ability to choose recycled paper for some of their products. I’ve been searching for a company that offers recycled business cards but not found many. An astonishing 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.
Non toxic inks
Another thing that really concerns me about business cards and stationery is petroleum-based, toxic inks. Flyerzone use vegetable based inks which give off much lower VOCs and are derived from renewable resources. The pigments in conventional inks can contain heavy metals and by using non toxic inks, this hazard is reduced.
But you know, it’s not down to businesses to do all the work. Here’s how you can do your bit with my 7 tips for eco friendly printing at home:
- Recycle your ink cartridges and toner for charity
- Buy recycled or FSC certified paper
- Print documents on both sides
- Recycle waste paper (or shred and use in your compost heap)
- Use an intellipanel to turn off your printer when you shut down your computer
- Consider buying a multifunction printer – these use around 50% less energy than the combined consumption of a scanner, fax and copier
- Use the draft setting or try the eco font to reduce the amount of ink you use
What do you do at home to minimise the environmental impact of printing?
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We try to minimise the amount of printing we do. When we do print, we use both sides of the paper – like you do – or, if the printing is just for our own use, we use the back of paper that has already been used on one side. Also, when possible, I print 2 pages on each side of the sheet of paper. Our ink cartridges cannot be recycled by charities. Therefore, following the instructions on the manufacturer’s website, we send them back to the manufacturer for recycling. We only switch the printer on immediately before we print, and switch it off again as soon as we have finished printing. Before recycling our waste paper, we look for any blank bits left on the paper that we could reuse. Some printing does not need a piece of paper that is completely blank on one side. And smaller bits of paper can be used to write notes or shopping lists.
@Jane: It’s great the manufacturer take them back for recycling Jane and I like your discipline with the printer; I can be a bit lazy on that one …