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Turning CMYK into Green

Touting your shop's shrinking environmental footprint makes good business sense.

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By Peggy Middendorf

As a result of its BioGraphix designation, many of The Big Print’s customers are looking to Zinsmeyer to help them reduce their bio footprint by supplying environmentally friendly graphics. When images are printed onto biodegradable substrates with inks sourced from corn, Zinsmeyer is confident that the signage that finds it way to the landfill will disintegrate into dust in 5 years.

Also on the West Coast, the Los Angeles facility of Schawk ( has found another way to promote itself as environmentally friendly. The company has received a chain-of-custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This certification tracks timber throughout the supply chain from forest to final user. Final products with the FSC label can be tracked back to the plot of land the tree was harvested from, to the mill, to the final merchant selling the paper.

"This certification demonstrates Schawk’s ability to work with clients to help them meet their corporate sustainability goals as global citizens and stewards of the environment," says David Schawk, company president and CEO. "Our clients may be assured that we are working with our suppliers to ensure the credibility of the products we buy from them."

In addition, Schawk has also been approved for membership in the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a project of GreenBlue. The SPC group is dedicated to transforming packaging into a system that encourages economic prosperity and a sustainable flow of materials.

"We have noticed increasing demand from print buyers to purchase graphics that are made from green materials," says Richard Bowles, vice-president and general manager for Nazdar. "Exactly what green means is open to considerable interpretation. Green-ness might include efforts to reduce VOCs, recycle waste and/or scrap materials, or print and manufacture using recyclable or biodegradable materials."

Helping push the eco-envelope
Of course, print providers aren’t pushing the eco-envelope all by themselves. As you might guess, many of the products and supplies that operations such as The Big Print and Filmet are using came about as a result of manufacturers seeking ways to truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace.