In this post:
NO ONE can use the excuse that there are “no alternatives”,
How does a Small Business local Print Shop “Go Eco”?,
Is yours a Screen Printing Shop?,
Are you trying to decide what changes to make to “Go ECO”?,
Your first time considering Offset?
How about starting with a used machine?
What do you do with any Build-up of “waste”?
It is not even a matter of “can”,
it is “a must“ ……….to join the Circular Economy.
If you had any idea of the benefits to your business
…you would not hesitate.
NO ONE can use the excuse that there are “no alternative suppliers” in the printing industry.
There are plenty of eco-ethical alternatives for paper, ink and equipment, and lots and lots of people are working on MORE, in every aspect of the Printing Industry. What you need is out there, around the globe, “ready to use” and getting better and better all the time.
We have reached the point that ALL print shops and printing companies can be part of the Circular Economy – NOW.
Even though there is growing momentum, the truth is that a company, a small business, can not afford to stop printing and disrupt their business to go completely sustainable all at once.
So, How does a Small Business, local, Print Shop join the Circular Economy?
One Step at a Time…..
I looked for some advice from a Small Printing company…………..
Eco Friendly Printer is celebrating our 29th anniversary as an environmental printer. My goal back in 1990 was to promote using 100% PCW* paper in our printing. 29 years later it is still our #1 goal. Minimizing people’s dependence on the use of new, raw, scarce materials helps preserve our planet.
We are a Small Business in the NYC area on Long Island.
EcoFriendly Printer started shortly after the 20th anniversary of earth day, 1990:
“I remember seeing Connie Chung state on national TV that 60% of the landfill problems were due to paper and printing waste. The following day was Earth Day. I saw middle school and high school students celebrating Earth Day.
I was sold.
I decided to merge my paper and printing business to focus on environmentally mindful processes.”
– Greg Barber, Manager and Owner of EcoFriendly Printer
I feel it is rather simple, to make a difference in your print shop for our environment.
No magic to being Eco Friendly in printing.
You can start very simply, by changing the paper you use to recycled papers. Today they talk about *PCW paper (Post Consumer Waste). Look for a supplier who can sell you 100% PCW recycled paper. By switching to 100% PCW paper, you avoid already printed paper from going to the landfills.
*Post Consumer Waste is paper that was printed and went to the customer. The customer finishes using it and is ready to throw what is left away. The decision then is: Do we dump this printed paper in the garbage or Do we recycle it and make new paper out of this waste. “ZERO waste” is reusing this paper again. My print shop has promoted 100% PCW paper for brochures, booklets, postcards, business cards, flyers, letterheads, etc., for 29 years. An added benefit to our environment is that 100% PCW paper is Chlorine Free. The bleaching of 100% PCW paper uses Oxygen or Hydrogen Peroxide and NOT CHLORINE. Chlorine can create Dioxin which is a deadly poison in our environment.
We stock 100% PWC paper which is also 100% Processed Chlorine Free. Tree Free Paper, Seed Paper, and TerraSkin (made from stone).
Save paper by convincing your customers to order sizes that work with the paper sizes you can buy.
To be even more environmental in your printing is to avoid paper waste in your operations. Encourage people to use standard size papers which, as you know, leaves as little paper waste as possible.
An example of this is choosing to promote 4 x 6 inch postcards instead of 5 x 7 size postcards, which not only saves 50% paper waste, but puts more money in the printer’s pocket and/or saves his customer costly waste. It’s like this: We can print 8 or 9 postcards on our 13 x 19 cover stock if the postcards are 4 x 6 size. But, only 4 postcards will fit on our 13 x 19 stock if we are printing 5 x 7 size postcards. We save half the paper when running 4 x 6 postcards.
My blog post: ECO FRIENDLY PAPER PRODUCTS FROM THE ECO FRIENDLY PRINTER may help you.
The second thing for a print shop to do is use Soy Based Inks or 100% non-toxic toner. Yes, these things are available and they cut down on using petroleum based inks. You can also get Vegetable based inks. What you need to look for is inks that are healthy for the environment and humans.
Soy inks are not easier to clean than petroleum based inks. They are just more environmental than petroleum base inks. We need to use less petroleum anywhere we can.
Also, our soy based inks do not cost more money to buy than petroleum base inks, and 100% non toxic toners are used when we print digitally. You can’t use toner in an offset press.
Printing Presses/Machines – Equipment
Many printers can’t afford both offset presses and digital presses. We have both.
My “rule of thumb” about when to use offset vs digital, starts with:
Digital prices are lower on runs between 500-1000 sheets, running with 12 x 18 or 13 x 19 paper, printed on both sides. Digital goes by the clicks, and up to 1000 clicks, the price is low.
The reason is that offset presses take a long time to set up. The click charges for digital presses are higher than an offset press, but setting the inks and plates up for offset are a much higher cost unless the print run is large.
After 1000 clicks, I find Offset Printing may be less money for my clients. The cost of 1000 Digital clicks is equal to the startup costs of our large offset presses. After we ink our presses and put the printing plates on the offset presses (and run maybe 250 sheets to check the print quality) each sheet going through the offset press, after 1000 sheets, costs much less than extra clicks on our Digital Presses.
Cost of equipment
A printer can buy a – used – Xerox Digital press for under $20,000. We have more expensive digital presses, that can cost up to $750,000.
Offset presses are much more expensive. So, I see more digital printing for most printer shops. Digital presses use less paper.
For example, if we are printing 10,000 postcards:
– I can get 8 cards out of each sheet of paper – and need maybe 1250 sheets of 13 x 19 paper.
– If I use my offset press, I would need at least 250 more sheets of paper to get the inks to balance.
We utilize the most current technology in our industry. We try to provide our clients with high-quality products on time and on budget. (Xerox and HP)
We realize that, for most people, the equipment used in production is not what matters. Still, we can’t help being proud of our toys, treasures, pride and joy. https://ecofriendlyprinter.com/equipment
If you go through my web site, you will see many examples, and lots of information about my suppliers and, I believe, a very effective way of advertising a eco-friendly printing business.
We feature both digital, offset and wide format presses
How I advertise to get business
We use a website to get most of my business from Google searches to my website, which I recently rebuilt to use more ecological, Sustainable words. And those keywords help!
The keyword “Sustainable” brought me 5 new accounts/customers recently.
Word of mouth is the best way to get huge accounts like jobs from the UN. Remember?, I am in the NYC area. We are recommended by our largest accounts to new clients. That means they like our print quality, our fast turn arounds, and our knowledge of “eco” printing.
Google likes links to my website, considering google’s way of ranking; the more clicks, the more relevant our site is to the people searching. We use keywords like Environment, Eco Friendly Printer, Recycled Paper, Sustainable Printing and many more such keywords in our website, so when a potential client does a Google Search, and types Ecofriendly Printer or another relevant keyword, our firm ranks on page 1 at the top of google searches.
My recommendation to printers is that being Sustainable/eco-friendly is more profitable. I have some more tips about what can be done, here.
Right now, Sustainable is the number 1 keyword in my estimation for being eco conscious and I believe my business is up 200% in our 4th quarter from clients who were searching for “Sustainable Printers” on google. In your region of the world you might have to play around with different keywords for a while. As long as they relate to the changes for the environment that you are making…you will find the right keywords for your target audience.
I want our planet Earth to be – Center Stage, in the spotlight!
Today! No magic to being Eco Friendly in printing.
When I started to look for sustainable supplies, back in 1990, it took some searching around, but today…. Circular Economy suppliers of paper, ink, etc., are looking for customers everywhere! The cost of these new supplies never disrupted my budget. And today, some of the 100% PCW paper we use is less money. From the very beginning suppliers tried very hard to keep their sustainable products at the same level as the other ones. It may be easier in NYC to find them, but they need you as customers, to get their own businesses going, where ever you are! If they have not found you, search for them!
Back in 1990, there was no need to advertise such a change, but today… WOW, just mention the right word and customers almost come out of the ground! I landed these new customers; BSR, Women Deliver, Tracy Anderson and Science for The People , all in the last 3 months. In fact, the last 4 months in 2019 have been the best 4 months in over 5 years of my printshop. Many of the new accounts have already committed to repeat orders. Today, any print shop that has not joined the Circular Economy is crazy! You are missing out on waste savings, healthier and happier workers, and new customers, who will feel “safe” that they are doing the right thing – all the way around! So, my Health first and the health of the Environment with it, is my wish for all.
Feel Free to contact me, if you think I can help you go ECO!
A guide to empower customers about Green Printing.
“Where do the raw materials come from, and where does the waste go? What type of hazardous material is used in the printing process, and what are the effects of all this on our environment? These are some questions that I hope you will find your answers in this book.”
2014 – Mr. Reza Shafii has established a unique approach to accurate color reproduction using the most biodegradable materials and earth friendly processes. He provides his customers with vivid colors without using harmful chemicals.
This book was written in response to the many customers who wished to learn more about Green Printing and how they could become a more informed Green Print buyer.
Is yours a Screen Printing Shop?
Screen Print: Green – this article is already old, but it gives you good ideas about how to start.
ECO-FRIENDLY SCREEN PRINTING 101: HOW TO RUN A SUSTAINABLE SCREEN PRINTING SHOP
2015 – Starting or rebranding as a green printing shop is no longer the overwhelming obstacle it used to be, and one-by-one, the things that kept us clinging to the safety of our traditions are being knocked down as support for the green movement grows from all sides.
“If you’re looking to make an eco-friendly switch, start with your chemicals. The easiest and least expensive change would be using pallet paste, because aerosols are such a huge thing. Then, ease into water based inks, because of the learning curve. Going green [in a screen printing environment] is harder than going green in other kinds of print shops, because you’re always going to have a little bit of waste. We’ve been printing with plastisol for the past 10 years. This year, we’ve been really pushing to go water based and eco-friendly. The biggest thing has been trying to get rid of chemicals. They either smell bad, or hurt your body in some way. In the last year companies have improved the chemicals, but with water based ink you don’t need chemicals. We don’t even have aerosols in our shop anymore. When you use spray adhesive, you go through a couple cans a week, but with the water based tack you only have to apply it once a week.”
Jarrod Hennis owner of Pirate Ninja Print Shop (an all water based shop in Rockford, Illinois)
Awareness in Eco-Consciousness
It’s worth it to mention that since the movement’s first rush to market, there have been questions about the authenticity of some “green” products. Often, with all of the earth-loving power that these products may possess, if used inappropriately, they can fall prey to the same toxic footprint as their chemical-laden brothers and sisters.
“Just because [the ink] is water based does not make it green. If the shop is not recycling the inks or disposing of them properly then the green factor goes away.” Brandon Lennert from Inferno Screen Printing (A water based and discharge only shop out of New Orleans.)
When this article was first written in 2015, the eco-friendly issues were already many – What You Already Can Do Then:
- Start by switching out all aerosols with their equivalent eco-friendly options.
- Choose water based adhesives, and soy or citrus-based eco-friendly screen washes, openers, degreasers, and strippers.
- Look for alternatives to pvc based plastisol inks, and if possible consider a switch to water based printing shop-wide.
- Take a class, do research, and start practicing with water based inks.
- Invest in a water-based appropriate dryer or air flash dryer, or find a water based low cure additive.
- Tip: Check to make sure your chemicals and emulsion are all water based compatible before making the change
- Invest in a filtration system, or create one of your own.
- Don’t put plastisol, water based inks or waste water down the drain.
- Re-brand and reuse your used cardboard boxes.
- Reduce your dumpster size by aggressively recycling.
- Reuse your misprinted shirts as shop rags.
- Recycle your old film positives, empty containers, and other plastics.
- Upgrade your lights to energy efficient models.
- Tip: You can often find incentives from your energy company or the local government for being more eco-friendly.
Ryonet Corporation’s ScreenPrinting.com website considers themselves an Industry leader for screen printing equipment, supplies, education, news, promotions, and new products. They are focused on the USA market, but they address the rest of the world here. I add this information, because I find their educational, videos and news materials very extensive and maybe useful to screen printers elsewhere. They seem to have taken on the Circular Economy and sustainability with force. No doubt due to customer demand:
Ryonet is determined to mindfully revamp their product offering to align with their new mission, Project 376 = Becoming an ECO Screen printing supplier. Everything won’t happen overnight, but we are committed to move methodically full force. Here are some of the things we are doing:
*Coming up: Sgreen chemistry gets Greener | Summer 2019
*Discontinue Screen Opener “cancer in a can” | Summer 2019
*Discontinue Spray Can Adhesive | Fall 2019
*NEW Green Galaxy Water Based Inks | ISS Long Beach January 2020 and More:
ScreenPrinting.com has How-to Videos, Help Articles, Printing Classes (also online), Blog, and eBook Downloads Like: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WATER BASED SCREEN PRINTING – “Yes, water based printing is for you!”
On Ashley House litho presses we use B2 and B3 chemistry-free plates. These plates have a longer lifespan than traditional, more toxic chemically processed plates. No chemistry and therefore no waste produced from processing printing plates, thus further reducing our environmental carbon footprint. Our litho inks are also certified vegan-friendly!
Although we don’t use much, we are using the first truly oxo-degradable pallet wrap. The wrap will oxo-degrade naturally within a 1– 2 year timeframe, helping to prevent long-term plastic pollution and reduce the effects of litter on our planet.
Are you trying to decide what to do first?
You have some idea where you are headed. You know what your particular customers are looking for. You have ideas about how you might expand your business. But you can not decide…….
With the check list below, you will see that what your target customers need is the direction you should probably take when including that addition of “planet Earth”. The checklist might help you decide which direction you should go….where to start.
- Quantity – what size orders do your target customers ask for most of the time? Very short runs can be much more cost effective with digital printing; while larger quantities are likely to have a lower unit cost with offset printing. Where do you get the most business? Small orders or Big orders.
- Printing medium – what kind of orders do your target customers ask for most of the time? Do your customer order ordinary printed mater or do they mostly want special paper or unusual printing surface, or some unique size? The options are increasing continually for digital, but offset printing still offers the most flexibility.
- Color- how many colors do your target customers ask for most of the time? If you need only black ink or one or two ink colors, offset printing may offer a more cost-effective solution for your customers. If your customers need four-color printing, digital printing may offer advantages in lower up-front costs. What do your customers order the most of.
- More on color. If most of your printing jobs use the Pantone® Matching System, offset printing will give you the best match, since it uses actual Pantone® ink. Digital printing simulates colors using a four-color matching process, so some digital printers may offer less accurate color matching.
- Turnaround – how fast do your target customers need their orders filled most of the time? If your customers ask for – fast, digital usually offers quicker delivery.
- Proofing. Digital offers accurate proofs since you see an actual sample of the printed piece. Accurate color proofing for offset printing can be expensive.
- Customization. Without question, digital printing offers the most affordable way to customize printed materials, direct mail pieces, letters, etc. Could be used to create samples of orders to show your customer….you know that if the order is big, you will have to explain to your customer what the final result would be.
- Talk to your customers to get their opinions, before making your next business decisions and plan.
Your first time considering Offset?
GH Imaging is a company that needs to start”GOing ECO”, but they offer here a video with some equipment issues that a print shop could consider when considering offset and making new plans.
The video is aimed at customers, but it includes the list below of considerations, that you might want to use when considering equipment expansion:
Great Image Quality
Longer Turn-Around time
(print size to fit your customers)
Low Cost Short Runs
Less steps, inferior image quality
Fast Turn-Around Time
Variable Data (Customize each print)
Can usually print larger sizes
You have paper, but what ink? What do you need to set up for OFFSET? How do these things compare with what you have today?
https://www.expresscards.com.au/ is another company that needs to consider “GOing ECO”, but they have a video here that covers the basics of OFFSET…. you can establish what you have on-hand and what you would need to purchase.
How about starting with a used machine?
When I/we started our own business and our working capital was low, we bought a used Konica Digital press and a used 29” Offset press. It was just a 1 color offset press. My partner kept both presses going and we were able to add new equipment as our sales increased and justified expansion.
As you know, equipment is like buying a car; depreciation from wear&tear, the lifecycle of a machine……
Dan Pinto and Dmitriy Rokhfeld have been creating businesses together since middle school. Now they lead Machinio.com, the fastest growing global search engine for used equipment.
The idea for Machinio came in late 2012. At the time, one of Dan Pinto’s colleagues purchased secondhand printing presses in the United States and sold them in Ecuador, where they lacked a local market for such equipment, and he asked Pinto to help him find a machine. After 45 minutes of unsuccessful searching, Pinto “saw the light”: Here was an opportunity to improve the process of finding used machinery by developing a vertical-focused search engine like Kayak, Indeed, or Priceline.
Machinio is presently, the largest global platform for buying and selling machinery and equipment. We’re experts at using technology to connect buyers and sellers and facilitate transactions. Thousands of dealers and suppliers trust us to market and sell their equipment. We do this by introducing them to millions of new buyers each year.
Machinio.com is a global search engine for used machinery. It has connected over 3,000 paying members with over 70,000 quality buyers who submit inquiries each month. With over 1.5 million listings, the platform continues to attract more than 600,000 buyers monthly.
Machinio is expanding, helping
The six-year-old start-up uses its knowledge of how dealers view and use technology and what their challenges are to develop a software called: MachineryHost. This new platform is an all-in-one software to design/host websites, manage inventory, create email campaigns, and store contacts.
And in the meantime, what do you do with any Build-Up of “waste” you may already be dealing with?
Here are two companies that are helping to find new life for scrap, waste.
ASPIRE (Advisory System for Processing, Innovation and Resource Efficiency) supports the re-think of waste for Small and Medium size Businesses (SMEs). It is a digital tool that assists businesses across regions, industries and local governments to create business to business collaborations.
The ASPIRE program assists with the growing issue of waste and disposal costs. In Australia, SME’s are 98% of operating businesses.
ASPIRE matches businesses with potential buyers with waste; re-manufacturers, purchasers or recyclers of waste for a robust Circular Economy.
“Almost 80% of Australia’s waste is generated through commercial, industrial, construction or demolition activities. We developed ASPIRE in response to rising costs of waste management, and to redirect waste to more productive uses,” said Cameron McKenzie, ASPIRE’s newly appointed CEO.
Direct metrics of success
- 300+ businesses engaged in the project (April 2019)
- 45,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill
- $207,000 saved for business ($193,000 reduction in waste disposal cost; $14,000 reduction in input material cost)
- 16 new business to business collaborations
and in Europe……………..
Saving Small Businesses the cost of $thousands in landfill expenses and adding to their revenue.
Open up space in your warehouse.
Sell your scrap materials
Get the best price.
Sfridoo.com is a B2B platform for purchasing / selling scrap material. A digital tool that shares economic principles to turn the circular economy into a reality. Sfridoo, a young start-up, has already enabled more than 100+ businesses to recycle, finding use for industrial scrap.
You will find more information about these companies and other ideas to use waste here.
What about your used digital cartridges……..?
They are also being re-cycled!
A partnership with Close the Loop enables your company to benefit from our decades of experience designing and managing product take-back programs.
Makes a Difference
A customer approached Close the Loop (CtL) to redesign their take-back program. They were having problems with their logistics provider and wanted to use the program as a sales driver and marketing tool.
CtL designed a return method to satisfy their logistics provider making the reverse logistics more efficient. As a result, end users were returning more used equipment.
By changing their take-back program, the customer was able to increase their returns. This program is now a source of strength in their marketing and sales.
———the world’s most environmentally conscious felt tip pens – Enviroliner™ felt tip pen
*For use in “green” team projects, give a tangible gift for staff/community/customer recycling
*Pens can be customised with your company logo
*Recycle your Enviroliner™ pens! Just put the used pens back in the printer cartridge collection box
*Purchasing recycled pens can be a company Social Responsibility initiative.
The next step is separating materials to a new useable form. At the end of CtL‘s process all material is recovered and put back into the commodities market – actually closing the material loop; putting these materials back to work.
Reuse – Re-make
CtL understands the best form of recycle is reuse. Our processes include being able to identify what needs to happen to an item either to make it useful, or to dispose of it. The rest of the process is to arrange that the received products go back into the supply chain, somehow.
CtL earned the trust of the global imaging industry because we continue to design and manage highly efficient ink and toner take-back, recovery, and reuse programs. These partnerships are with Fortune 500 companies such as Xerox, Staples, HP and Konica Minolta.
A circular economy makes the most of your valuable resources, transforming items that would normally end up in landfills and oceans into useful commodities that can be returned to the supply chain.
Close the Loop has Global Reach
If you are not located in Australia, New Zealand, the USA or Europe, contact them HERE.
With strategically located operations around the world, CtL is a clear choice to organise your digital waste. Close The Loop – Saves Your Company Money, Time, & Energy
The world is aware, the world understands and accepts, the world is doing!
All ECO printed media will help quicken the pace to a total Circular Economy!
A 30-Year Legacy of Environmental Commitment
Started as Tulip Graphics in 1987, with facilities in both Berkeley and San Francisco, we were one of the early adopters of digital color imaging technologies in the country. Prior to the desktop publishing revolution, prepress operations were largely inefficient. The new digital prepress technologies we began investing in gave us our first taste of how technology can be used, not only to increase efficiency, but to also reduce our environmental impact.
It wasn’t until the birth of my second son that I became passionate about making sure my business was as sustainable as it was successful. I felt deeply that it was my responsibility as a business owner to foster a responsible manufacturing operation. I saw the need to think about future generations.”
Mario Assadi, President and CEO Tulip Graphics/Greenerprinter
How did you become a green printer?
We decided to focus first on paper. We started by purchasing paper only from known sources, both domestic and European. Second, we make sure that it’s a FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper. Third, we buy recycled paper with a high PCW (post consumer waste) content. When we discovered New Leaf Paper, we knew we had found a like-minded partner. New Leaf produces US made paper, is FSC certified and has high PCW content, up to 100%.
In 2005, we rolled out the Greenerprinter website; an online printing site to offer recycled paper exclusively. We have been the number one consumer of New Leaf Paper ever since.
How do you do all of this and still offer such low prices and great quality?
We have always stuck to one essential goal: Offer eco-friendly printing, but do it without sacrificing quality or value. To achieve this, we’ve invested in technologies that are not only cleaner but more efficient, meaning we absorb fewer costs for make-ready sheets and reprints. In addition, by offering recycled papers exclusively, we are able to purchase paper in discounted bulk quantities – a savings that is passed on to the customer. Most customers are pleasantly surprised to discover that being eco-friendly, is usually better than the competition, and still affordable.
– Greg Barber, Manager and Owner of EcoFriendly Printer
Today, any print shop that has not joined the Circular Economy is crazy! You are missing out on waste savings, healthier and happier workers, and revenue from new customers, who will feel “safe” that they are doing the right thing – all the way around!
If you are going eco-friendly or on your way there….have you taken notice of all the ideas for advertising your new direction, that are mentioned in here?
The first Industry that can go completely Circular…NOW!
Here are a number of posts on the already Sustainable Circular Printing & Packaging industry:
Every Print Shop can “Go ECO”! NOW!
Marketing PRINTING & PACKAGING – Trends ..using sustainable suppliers
Eco-Printing & Packaging EQUIPMENT