With the transition to digital media being the norm, these days, one has to wonder if printed promotional campaigns can ever be green?
Marrying tried-and-tested marketing methods with the responsibility of being a greener business can seem like a difficult task, particularly at a time when many companies are feeling the strain financially. One of the oldest tools used by companies to promote their products and services are leaflets and brochures, but in a world where sustainability is becoming a key consideration, does the printed promotion still have its place?
In addition to being cost-effective, it’s possible to ensure environmental issues such as sustainability are still considered as part of a traditional leafleting strategy by purchasing promotional flyers from an eco-friendly printing supplier. If you are considering embarking on a traditional leafleting campaign, or would like to produce some printed promotional literature, it’s best to approach potential printing partners armed with a few questions that should help you snag the best deal for you and the environment.
Many businesses are aware that operating as a green business can help them to attract customers, so in order to ensure you yourselves aren’t guilty of greenwashing and that you don’t fall victim to the attempts of others at doing the same, you should establish a few basics. One point to check is whether the green printing company is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council – a not-for-profit organisation that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Companies who are certified under the group’s Chain-of-Custody programme use paper that can be tracked right back to certified wood grown in their forests. This means that the paper used to print your leaflets or other promotional materials has been sourced responsibly.
Waste should also be a priority: as well as making sure you don’t order more promotional materials than you need, you should check your green printers’ waste policy.
Flyerzone, an eco friendly printing company, separates waste into seventeen streams for recycling or processing and use vegetable based inks from large drums. Vegetable based inks are less harmful to the environment and pumping from drums rather than using small cartridges minimises the use of packaging. It’s even possible to recycle printing plates – so ask potential printing partners whether they have a recycling policy. In addition to being more environmentally sound, minimising waste makes solid commercial sense as those who use fewer resources are able to keep printing prices low and offer you a good price for their services.
How to Assess the Eco-Friendliness of Your Green Printing Services
Here are a few questions you can ask to assess the eco-friendliness of printing companies:
- Is the paper purchased by the company, from a certified Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) supplier?
- Do you have an environmental management system (EMS) in place? Is it certified to the ISO 14001 standard or verified under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
- What type of inks do you use in your printing process?
- Do you use cartridges or drums as part of the printing process?
- What do you do with your paper waste?
- How does your business dispose of non-paper waste such as solvents?
- Can you provide assistance or advice if I have leftover printed materials that I need to dispose of?
- Do you recycle your printing plates?
- Do you have schemes in place which reward green ideas from employees?
Beyond the use of promotional printing, keeping waste to a minimum is a good lesson to take into your own workplace; as well as limiting your paper waste you can look to reduce energy use through harnessing natural light in your building, or installing solar energy panels to help you generate your own heat.
Use the lessons learnt in your promotional campaigns throughout your business and familiarise yourself with the waste reduction packaging directive, which tries to minimise the use of packaging, promote energy recovery and encourage recycling. Not only could this gain your business recognition as a green business, it could also net you savings both long and short term.