Consumers are driven by various factors. These may include price, quality of product, social values of the manufacturer and so on. More recently, environmental impact has turned out to be an important consideration by potential consumers. Many of them are choosing products which create the least negative impact to the environment. This has been seen in many industries including printing. Adopting digital printing that is eco friendly will certainly give you an edge over your competitors.
Ink is one of the most important raw materials used in the printing process. Unfortunately, the types of ink which have been used in the past are derived from fossil fuels and thus are a major environmental pollutant. The inks contain volatile organic compounds which react with gases in the atmosphere to form a layer of ozone. Unlike the normal ozone layer, the layer formed in this instance contributes to formation of smog.
Printing paper is another important input in the process. Continued use of paper has put trees and by extension, important ecosystems, at risk. The two options are virgin and recycled paper. Whereas the former is obtained directly from trees, recycled paper makes use of paper used previously. There is no doubt that an environmental conscious business will opt for the recycled paper option. Apart from conservation, recycled paper is also cheaper to process.
There are a number of other materials which can be recycled and reused in similar fashion. These include, among others, the ink, water and aluminum printing plates. Water is by far the easiest of them to reuse. Research shows that as much as two thirds of water passing through the first cycle can be re-utilized in subsequent cycles. Not only does this help in environmental conservation but is also an important cost cutting measure.
Energy conservation needs to be prioritized. Minimize on wastage of energy by going for efficient equipment which gives you the greatest output possible for every unit of electricity used. One of the biggest changes being seen in this respect is the increased adoption of non-renewable sources of energy and an accompanying reduction in the use of fossil based fuels. The latter are associated with environmental degradation.
Fabric printing just like paper based printing is also undergoing some radical changes in a bid to ensure that they are sustainable. Among the changes taking place is a change in the pre-treatment of fabrics before they are printed on. The traditional approach involves the use of urea based chemicals which yield carbon dioxide during the steaming process. Newer methods use a special kind of form which has no urea.
Digital engraving is being developed as an alternative to conventional printing techniques. These include digital wax and ink. During digital engraving laser is used directly on the material to create the desired print. A major advantage of this option is the short turnaround time due to the fewer processes involved. Water conservation is another possible benefit since screen development using water is not needed here.
It is the responsibility of every business to ensure that it conducts its operations in a sustainable manner. This should not only relate to the production of goods and services but to the entire supply chain as well. Sustainable options are beneficial to the environment, the business as well as to the consumer in the form of fairly priced products.
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