Sustainability is becoming increasingly prominent within the media and in the public’s consciousness. Due to the commodities involved in printing, it’s even more important to demonstrate green credentials and a commitment to the environment.
With pressure mounting to meet environmental standards and government regulations, positive steps to source your printing materials responsibly are the best way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability:
While using recycled paper is clearly one important step that label printing businesses can take to ensure they act in an environmentally-responsible way, a green policy requires a more comprehensive strategy. The environmental impact of paper isn’t simply about where it came from but also the coating or bleaching that is applied which may be chemical-based and, therefore, destructive to ecosystems and waterways. You may wish to explore each substrate suppliers’ environmental policy: for example, the measures they take to reduce their carbon footprint during manufacture and shipping, their use of renewable forms of energy or the type of fuels consumed by transportation fleets. Please consider the adhesive layer options and recycling implications for the end product, not forgetting the Silicone release paper disposal.
Use Sustainable Inks
Many inks, especially those which are petroleum-based, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - carbon compounds that evaporate at normal indoor air temperature, contributing to global warming. Prolonged exposure to these inks can cause health problems for printing personnel so an eco-friendly alternative is an effective solution.
Vegetable-based inks, for example soy ink, release no harmful contaminants and are sourced from plants which are renewable. These produce the same high-quality print as harmful VOC inks. Vegetable-based inks are also a more suitable choice for food packaging as they are considered safe when in contact with products for consumption. UV flexo inks and curing systems have allowed printers to improve print quality, increase productivity and provide a safer environment in the pressroom. Just coming to market are new LED UV inks which can be used in direct printed food packaging which has resulted in a broad adoption of the technology in USA.
Choose Packaging Wisely
It’s not just the paper and ink that need to be considered to improve your green credentials. Packaging constitutes an essential and significant part of an order so aim to source card for boxes, binding tape and wrapping from sustainable sources. Food packaging materials made from corn starch, for example, is not only sourced from plants but is fully biodegradable and, therefore, has a zero impact on the environment without compromising its strength or durability. Polythene or bubble wrap, if made from high-density polyethylene, is fully recyclable and plays a vital role in sustaining the environment.
Find Out More
At Focus Label, we design and construct narrow web printing machines for the labelling, retail and food packaging industry. We can accommodate your business’s commitment to sustainability.
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