This was written by Veronica Pamoukaghlian of Print Ninja.
Some people claim that the greenest page of all is the page that never gets printed at all. However, there is a noble and comfortable quality to paper that makes us think that the future is more in print optimization than in abandoning printing altogether.
Companies today need to strive for a sustainable printing environment. The first concern is reducing print volumes, naturally, but then, recycling paper, optimizing the use of the printed page and utilizing eco-friendly systems and paper for printing are none the less important.
Paper does not only consume trees. The paper industry is one of the largest consumers of water and energy worldwide, thus the environmental impact of printing is more dramatic than it may seem at first-hand.
In the US, the average student is said to generate more than a hundred pounds of paper waste every year. The recycling of this waste is of the essence, but improving practices in order to generate less waste is equally important.
Schools and colleges rely heavily on printing, but they are also the places where kids and young people can learn good eco-printing practices, a paradox that the modern world needs to resolve, in order to achieve a more sustainable existence.
Double-sided printing is one of the simplest ways to conserve paper. Assessing the real impact and the environmental footprint of our printing activities is also key, especially in the case of companies and organizations.
The quality and kind of printing products and practices you use are important as well. For example, limiting in-house printing and hiring an eco-friendly printing company to take care of your essentials is a good idea, if you don´t have the infrastructure to ensure that all your practices and products are 100% green. Likewise, printing with soy ink on recycled paper is much less harmful for the environment than using oil-based inks. In fact, several printer manufacturers such as Samsung, are putting out eco-friendly printers more often every day.
On the one hand, you need to make sure that all of your equipment meets eco-label criteria, and on the other hand, you can always buy green recycled paper instead of white paper that requires thousands of trees to be cut off to achieve that perfect whiteness we have become so used to.
Prioritizing is one of the key aspects of going green when it comes to printing. For example, when you absolutely must print something, it is always a good idea to do so in a way that you know your printed paper will have another use next.
Last but not least, paper is so flexible and colourful sometimes that it can be used to create awesome crafts and decorations, mutating into all kinds of beautiful/useful objects. Check out cheapideas.com´s Recycled paper section for some fabulous paper craft ideas.
Adopting more eco-friendly printing practices is one of the simplest, most effective things you can do to contribute to the sustainability of our planet´s ecosystems.
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