Keep it green

In an environmentally conscious age, there is a need for all industries to be aware of their carbon footprint and environmental impact; and the printing industry is no different! 

 

It is common knowledge that stickers & labels are not fundamentally good for the environment because of waste and energy usage.

 

From seed to sticker, throughout the printing process there is a need to utilise sustainable practises. 

Integrating sustainability will ensure longevity for the sticker & label business, whilst minimising the negative impacts upon our planet, including landfill waste contributions. 

 

Increasingly, manufacturers are looking to replace traditional materials with more environmentally friendly alternatives. 

 

Popular compostable materials within the sticker industry are made from a mix of hemp, recycled paper, sugar cane and linen. Inkreadible go into more details on their site, so check them out.

This blog highlights how certain printing industry specific regulations -- such as the European Industrial Compostable Standard -- have been put in place as clear criteria to determine whether a material can be classified as biodegradable or compostable.

 

To pass, a material is required to be able to break down naturally in the environment over time - most importantly, without human involvement.

One of the biggest hurdles in the race to sustainability within sticker production is the chemicals used; this includes the adhesives and colourful inks used to print designs. 

 

Harmful chemicals used in stickers are known as Volatile Organic Compounds -- not a particularly nice sounding chemical!

 

As discussed on PFL, vegetable-based inks are a widespread alternative to VOCs. Using these you can obtain vivid colours but also have the added benefit of being easy to extract at the end of a sticker’s lifetime.

 

Why should you think eco?


At a smaller scale, there are also many more benefits to businesses than meets the eye.


Reduced costs are a great incentive for businesses to become more eco-friendly. 


As being green becomes higher on everyone’s agenda, the environmentally sustainable options will become more affordable and of a greater variety. 


Additionally, demonstrating greater environmental awareness can also set you apart from competitors and widen possible opportunities for work. 


But overall, the main aim of being more sustainable is to help reduce and combat the adverse effects from global climate change.

Some ways to challenge common practices in the sticker industry are discussed on Consolidated Label, but we have summarised the key points below:

  1. Reduce... material consumption by producing “slimline” sticker and label options, preventing unnecessary excess material use. 
  2. Reuse…by promoting recycling as an integral part of the production process; ink cartridges; and paper.
  3. Rethink... and refuse traditional and unsustainable practises. Transition to sustainable sources for materials and energy, prioritise energy-efficiency and energy-saving practices across the business.
Challenge the norm. Keep it green and try and be clean.