Whether you want stunning large format posters or eye-popping banners, it’s essential to get the best possible quality for the most reasonable price. However, the environmental “cost” of the printing isn’t always as easy to tell. Unlike offset printing, large format printing is inherently green as the printers (usually inkjets) conserve energy and minimize wastage. If you are concerned about the environment, here are three ways to choose a printing firm that employs environmentally friendly printing techniques. This can help reduce the environmental impact of your large format printing.

#1. Does The Firm Belong To A Recycling Network?

Choose a green firm for large format printing The simplest way to tell whether a printing business is green is to ask whether they implement a company-wide recycling program. Even small printing firms can reduce their environmental impact by returning print cartridges and toner bottles to the supplier. According to the Alternative Technology Association of Australia, large format printing equipment lends itself particularly well to recycling schemes. They note that the practice of recycling ink containers ‘reduces the environmental impact of printing and keeps used supplies out of landfill sites’. One such scheme, the Xerox Green World Alliance, points out that major printing firms can cumulatively recycle millions of supplies each year if they join a recycling scheme. Choosing a printing firm that belongs to a recycling scheme is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of your large format printing.

#2. Does The Firm Use Eco-Ink And Green Paper?
Large format printing - Choosing a green firm

Much large format printing is carried out on large inkjet printers. Therefore, the type of ink used can have an impact on how green your printing is. Some ‘green’ printing firms use inks derived from soy, as opposed to petroleum-based products. The Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) points out that Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are a real concern with printing inks if they end up in landfill. Printing firms that use zero-VOC inks will be a greener solution for your large format printing needs.

You can also look at the type of paper that the printing firm uses. Printing firms that follow International Pollution Prevention Certificate (IPPC) standards will use paper that is solvent free and be printed using only water based inks and top coatings. Looking for printing firms with this or similar certificates from other organizations is a sure way to reduce the environmental impact of your large format printing.

#3. Does The Firm Practice Enhanced Document Management?
How to choose a green firm

Unlike some forms of digital and offset printing, there are typically lower levels of waste with large format printing. One way to ensure that wastage is minimized is to check whether the printing firm follows enhanced document management processes and procedures. For instance, GreenPrint™ software automatically finds pages with typical waste characteristics, such as pages with just a URL, banner ad, logo or legal jargon, and checks whether the operator really wants to print them. Software such as this helps any firm to cut down on the amount of paper and ink waste that large format printing can generate.

If you are serious about reducing the environmental impact of your large format printing, the five tips in this article should help you. What do you think of our tips? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below!

The author of this article, Gary Thomas, is a part of the team at Inspired Design, providers of large format printing services. Whenever Gary is free on weekends, he enjoys playing baseball with his friends.

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