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Sustainability: The Future for Print Shops?

(October 2016) posted on Wed Jan 11, 2017

Why more and more print shops are making the move to green in 2016.

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By Joe Holt

Wherever you are in the world, you are most likely keeping an eye on the weather. Is it going to be windy today, or is the meteorologist forecasting heavy rain? Maybe it’s finally time to break out that scarf you’ve had in storage all summer. Or, maybe it’s a scorcher, and you need an extra layer of sunblock. These days, it’s typically the latter.

If you’ve been paying attention to annual weather reports the last few years, you probably have noticed an alarming trend: Things are getting hotter. Much hotter.

“Why do we choose to run a sustainable print business?” asks Michael Hecht, VP of sales and marketing at Premier Press in Portland, Oregon. “Two words: global warming.”

In 2016, the US sweated through its fifth-hottest summer on record, according to data recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As global climate reports indicate, last year was the hottest ever recorded, thus a variety of efforts are taking place worldwide to reduce environmental impacts – from renewable power sources and carbon taxes at the office to more energy-efficient appliances and electric cars at home. A hotter planet affects everyone, and our own wide-format print industry has been taking notice for quite some time.

So, just what is “sustainability?” According to Printing Industries of America (PIA), it’s the ability of your company to operate in a way that meets present needs while providing for the needs of the future and future generations. It’s the paper your shop uses – can it be recycled or reused? It’s the ink in your machines – are you using vegetable- or soy-based? (If so, it can be recycled.) It’s the energy powering your shop – are you turning off equipment when not in use or shutting off lights in unoccupied rooms? And it doesn’t stop there.