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Success and Sustainability

(March 2012) posted on Wed Mar 14, 2012

Five print providers who have plotted out a green course.

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By Paula Yoho

Another way the company strives to make environmentally friendly print options more ubiquitous, Johnston says, is by investing in eco-friendly printing equipment.

“We work a lot with grocery stores, so it was really critical for us to find a UV device that didn’t put off any odors. The last thing that you want to smell when you’re in the fruit department or the bakery is a graphic that has a bad chemical smell coming off of it. That was a common complaint we got back in the day when we had a solvent-printing device,” he says.

“We’ve been working for years with Mutoh’s equipment as an equipment dealer, but we also use their printers, including the Mutoh ValueJet 1614 and ValueJet 1608 hybrid. We’ve seen that their eco-solvent inks are extremely durable and vibrant and they don’t put off any harmful odors and any VOCs that are put off are extremely low. We also use UV-curable aqueous-based ink on our Agfa Anapurna M2 – it allows us to print directly to the substrate so we don’t have to print a graphic and then mount it.”

Johnston has seen a lot of print providers embrace sustainable printing, only to abandon it soon after due to lack of customer demand, but his company is different.

“We really believe in it and we believe that in the future the trend is going to continue to move upward. We’re going to continue to push forward our research and bring in new products and test them and find new products that are inexpensive to offer people.”

A top-down approach: PhotoCraft
The embrace of sustainability as a business culture has been a methodical, thoughtful process for PhotoCraft (, a provider of large-format retail graphics based in Portland, Oregon.

“We started a few years back looking at green materials and it was really in vogue at the time. It’s not that we were using a lot of them, but we had them available. We knew what they were, we would test them, and were doing our due diligence on them. And every now and then we’d have something that was unique and new and different that we would use as a material,” explains general manager Tom Wittenberg. “Over time, it just became a natural extension of where we were going as a company.”