Sustainable printing is not all that easy to achieve. Like all office printers, large, industrial printing sites need paper as an essential resource, and often require thousands of sheets for a single printing job. Adding to the ongoing environmental impact, printing factories consume excessive amounts of water, chemicals, plastic and energy daily. Old, broken, or unused machine parts also contribute to the growing problem of electronic waste – which is three times more likely to be dumped in landfill than regular waste.
While supporting eco-friendly printers in the name of the environment sounds honourable, it’s not often perceived as practical. When your business has an ongoing reliance on printed material, cost-efficiency and good product are often going to have a higher priority than sustainability. And so it may be easy to discount the environmental concerns regarding unsustainable printing.
However, there are other arguments for prioritising sustainable practices – after all, you’re running a business and it needs to be profitable. So if I can’t just pull your heartstrings, maybe I can also reach your purse strings. If reputation and lead generation are important for your business, you should be considering:
The non-environmental benefits of supporting sustainable printing
Helping to build customer appeal
It’s important to remember that while sustainability may not a priority for you, it could an important priority to your customer. In just the last few years, awareness and action for sustainability has skyrocketed and become a key driver of innovation. Environmental sustainability measures have a net worth soaring into the millions. Australian Paper alone have invested $90 million into just one waste paper recycling plant. Sustainable printing practices are a key area of concern for many stakeholders – your commitment to a sustainable future is a valuable competitive edge.
The effect on brand reputation
Your attitude towards sustainability is a reflection of the ethics and morals of your business. Sustainability is a global concern, and your choices have a direct impact on others. You need to demonstrate to your stakeholders that you are aware of the environmental, economic and social implications of your company’s actions. If you don’t, you run the risk of appearing indifferent, uncaring and irresponsible. All of which are destructive to brand reputation.
Four ways your business can be more sustainable
If you’re serious about making a difference to the environment – whether for your own moral concerns or to improve your brand reputation – your approach to sustainability has to go beyond using a sustainable printer. Here are the small steps you can take to become a more sustainable business.
1 . Use recycled paper
Recycling plants, such as Australian Paper, have made access to recycled paper easier and cheaper than ever before. If your business uses un-recycled paper, you can still save money and trees by recycling wasted paper copies for un-important print jobs.
2. Support managed forests
If your business requires ongoing print services, make sure you’re using one that supports managed forests. Managed forests are cultivated specifically for paper milling, and they keep out carbon footprint small and protect Australian wildlife.
3. Commit to digitisation
Reduce your paper consumption and utilise digital technology for communication as much as possible. That memo is just going to get thrown in the bin – send an email instead. While this may sound conflicting advice to come from a printing company, one of the first things we do as part of our end-to-end print management review is help our clients figure out what they don’t need to be printing out at all.
Have you ever over-ordered a printing supply because you weren’t sure how much inventory you had? Now I bet they’re taking up space somewhere, collecting dust until you need to use them again. Or – even worse – all that unused paper was dumped unceremoniously into your office’s recycling bin. Poor print management can become an economic drain on your business, and increases paper waste. By improving your print management, you can save your business time and money, and promote sustainability.
Sometimes it’s difficult, expensive, or impractical to run a business and be 100% green. Even though environmental sustainability is a growing initiative, it’s not perfect yet. There may be facets of your industry that are still unsustainable – and out of your control.
However, at least you can say that you support sustainable printing.
With Inkifingus, we ensure our printing practices are sustainable for the environment – without the additional cost. Check out our Sustainable Printing Practices page to learn more about Inkifingus’ ongoing commitment to the environment.