Once your collaterals have been designed and an eco-friendly paper has been chosen, it is time to pick a green printer and prepare your prints for distribution. There are several steps to take during this stage of the process in order to minimize the environmental footprint, while also saving time and money.
1. Choosing a Green Printer
Work with printing and production companies that have clear environmental policies. Identify companies with a great environmental commitment by evaluating what they are doing to minimize air pollution, water pollution, energy use, and chemical waste.
Another factor to consider when choosing a printer is where it is located. The closer the company is to a USPS office the easier it will be to ship. Reducing shipping distance saves time, energy and costs.
Also, make sure your printer offers a range of different recycled paper stocks depending on what you are looking.
Finally, find a printer with a reputation for quality and customer service, and order a sample kit. Most companies will send you samples free of charge so you can see the quality of their finished materials firsthand.
2. Gang Printing
By working with the design team, printers can help facilitate the “gang” of print runs. Ganging, where different direct mail and marketing components are printed in a single print run, reduces waste, particularly on short print runs.
3. Digital and Computer-to-Plate Printing
Be open to testing new printing and production methods that could result in increased efficiency. When it comes to printing, this includes experimenting with new printing techniques like digital and computer-to-plate printing. These innovative techniques contribute to reduced chemical waste, paper waste, and overall emissions.
4. Eliminate hard copy proofs
Encourage printers to utilize electronic publishing whenever possible. This has a dramatic effect on the pre-press and printing processes since PDF proofing can eliminate the need for hard copy proofs and allows the proofs to be circulated more quickly. This saves the company time, money, and resources. Develop a comprehensive review process for final proofs so that no mistake is overlooked, thereby requiring a reprint of the entire batch.
Lastly, work with the printer company to ensure the recyclability of the project. For this, it is important to utilize ink that has minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ideally, you should state a preference for vegetable and/or soy-based inks. These are an ideal alternative to petroleum-based inks not only because they are less toxic, but also because they are made from a renewable resource.
However, it is important that the printer works closely with the design team and the paper supplier to make sure the job can be printed with these inks since only certain papers can accommodate low VOC ink.