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How to print sustainably

In an increasingly digital world, print is looked down on by some due to its perceived lack of sustainability. However, responsible paper sourcing and carbon offsetting mean that the environmental impact of print can be significantly reduced. Amy Gregory from Pureprint Group, a CarbonNeutral® company providing print and marketing services, provides some tips to help make your print more sustainable.


Specify ‘responsible’ papers

From FSC certified papers – recognised by the WWF as the hallmark of responsible forest management – to recycled materials there are many options to choose from. Your printer can advise you on the best choice of paper for your publication and the environment. 


Print less

New digital print technology makes it cost effective to print less and then reprint when you need more. Before digital print, short run print would be expensive due to the set up cost of litho technology. Now we can print what you want when you want it, helping both your budget and the environment.


Print less again…

…but this time through better management of your mailings and better use of your data. Cleansing your data using a data bureau means you can cut the wastage, and personalised printing increases response rates and refining customer mailings reduces waste. 


Take responsibility for the carbon emissions created by your printing

Many printers offer carbon offsetting. For instance CarbonNeutral® from Natural Capital Partners is one supplier who helps you to offset your emissions. Your printer can calculate the carbon footprint of your publication including paper manufacturing, delivery of the paper, production at the factory and final distribution, and then invests that in carbon offset projects.

An example of the kind of offsetting would be investment in the Andipatti Wind Power project in India. It delivers zero-emissions renewable electricity to the Southern regional grid and consists of 30 turbines which reduce CO₂ emissions by displacing electricity which would have otherwise been drawn primarily from fossil fuel power stations.

According to an IPCC special report on carbon capture and storage, 40% of the world’s CO₂ emissions come from the power sectors, and renewable energy has a much lower environmental impact than conventional sources of energy. Unlike finite resources such as fossil fuels, renewable energy is generated from sustainable sources, which are replenished naturally on a scale that can support the consumption rate. However the biggest barrier to getting this power more mainstream is the set up cost. This is where carbon offsetting projects have a great positive impact.


Use an environmental imprint.

Many companies print sustainably and make really responsible choices but don’t communicate it. By giving clarity on your sustainable choice it not only improves your image, showing you as a caring, responsible organisation, but also encourages others in the sector to follow suit and to adopt similar responsible purchasing practices, increasing the rate of environmental improvement. 


Choose a sustainable printer

Choose a printer who is environmentally responsible, one who minimises the impact of their own production facilities, processes and investments and can offer advice on the most sustainable way to print your communications.

Further information

Find out more about carbon offsetting

Find out more about Andipatti Wind Power

Find out more about the FSC certification

Find out more about Pureprint Group - the UK’s leading sustainable printer and an NCVO Trusted Supplier


Page last edited Dec 08, 2015 History

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