It’s been clear for a couple of years that technology is no longer the primary driver for growth in the graphics industry. Technology is still important, obviously, but these days it is print applications that tend to push innovation the hardest. One such application is the idea of distributed print buying via the cloud, something that various developers, such as HP and EFI, have taken a stab at. There is a lot to be gained from the approach, which allows print buyers to upload their files and order print via the cloud, so that the print can be printed close by. The ecological savings are obvious in that much of this type of on demand work will be digitally printed. And the approach also saves on transport related emissions.
A small company located in central southeastern France is seeing environmental improvements through the use of a digital cutting system. They’re using it to do specialist cutting on demand for both digital and offset printing workflows.
Intelligent resource management is what sustainability is really all about, whether you are a research scientist or a provider of technologies for graphics production. Brainy people keep coming up with new tools to help graphics professionals to improve process control, cut waste and reduce resource usage. Digital printing has stolen a lot of the sustainability limelight over the last few years, primarily because of its ability to produce custom documents in runs of predetermined runlength. However makers of other kit, including platesetters, have not been idle.
Part of Coca-cola’s recent announcement to be more environmentally friendly includes a campaign “to encourage people to recycle and dissuade littering”, said Nick Brown, head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners. The company produces over 100 billion plastic bottles per year and is making a massive contribution to the plastic littering plaguing the planet, so this campaign is good news. But much more needs to be done: over 70% of soft drinks, including water and fruit juices, are supplied in PET bottles by the big drinks brands.
As we all know, process control is fundamental to every aspect of the circular economy. But publishers, printers and all other players in media supply chains can only benefit, if they can work out a solid business model and make money from it. In order to do this several structural elements must be in place. The first is widespread consumer awareness, a societal norm that encourages end users to only buy products which can be recycled or reused within a zero waste model. But this is an enormous ask.