A printing company can print on hundreds of thousands sheets of paper in a given day, depending on how many jobs need to be produced. Errors, scraps, and test runs can lead to excess waste. Extra ink, toners, and cartridges also accumulate waste. Not to mention, paper accounts for 12,500 tons of waste in the United States alone. Paper is often thrown out or recycled and ends up in the landfill. Despite this, the printing manufacturing industry does everything possible to diminish extra waste and are in the process of becoming sustainable.
It’s important for companies to identify what materials and goods are being purchased, used, and discarded. Industries need to develop a strategy to eliminate, reduce, reuse, and recycle materials. Waste prevention benefits the environment, society, and the company’s finances. The advantages are long lasting, including being seen as a socially respected company in the public. Below are different ways the printing industry is reducing waste.
One of the best methods for reducing waste is to recycle! A proven way to easily recycle materials is to choose paper or stock that contains recycled content. White paper is valued highly for the recycling collection due to its plain elements. The printing industry should try to avoid fluorescent and goldenrod paper since the materials do not easily break down. Instead, the use of fiber paper is a more sustainable alternative that has the ability to be recycled. Printing companies are trying to avoid plastic covers and bindings due to the difficulty of recycling plastic.
Sometimes waste is inevitable, which is why preventing waste from the start is a valuable strategy! Book printing companies can implement changes into their manufacturing to prevent waste. For example, they can begin each chapter of a book on the page that immediately follows the previous chapter. Also, they can avoid keeping excess blank pages in books and print double-sided if possible. Printing companies should pay attention to page layouts, such as putting more words on pages to prevent waste. It’s imperative that printing businesses only order materials that they need at the time. Many companies are persuaded by volume discounts and will purchase surplus materials to receive the discount. The printing industry needs to anticipate corrections and changes, to avoid over-purchasing or under-purchasing. Other methods to prevent waste is by using vegetable-based ink, which can prevent air and water pollution. Printing companies that have been attempting to reduce waste avoid using astrobright and goldenrod material. A list of alternative materials include fibers such as kenaf, cereal straw, and sugar beet pulp.
Internal and External Outreach
A method for any business to remain transparent about their operations is to keep their team members involved and informed. The best way to do this is to provide regular updates about their waste management strategy. That way employees can retain a better understanding about what they can do to help. Companies can send out updates and waste information through digital newsletters, email blasts, and events. A proven method for employees to learn about the company’s operations is through workshops. These hands-on meetings can keep employees informed, while having fun. It is also essential that printing companies effectively train new hires and existing workers. The team should know the proper techniques to prevent waste.
Not only can a printing company inform their workers about their waste management efforts, but they can inform the public as well. This information can be distributed through press releases and environmental publications. The printing industry should join the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise program. This free program is offered to a range of industries that helps meet goals to reduce and recycle waste.
Creating customized jobs for clients can result in excess waste. Ultimately, businesses are doing what they can to reduce waste and become more sustainable. Methods for achieving this is through recycling, waste prevention, and different outreach initiatives. A company that is putting in efforts and practices to reduce waste, have high regards for morals and ethics and will be seen as such by society.
Written by Omega High Impact Print Solutions’ Marketing Intern, Noelle Reinhardt