For many consumers battling with economic hardship, the environment has fallen down their list of priorities. But businesses seem not to be losing faith in such numbers. Those printing companies who are managing to keep their heads above water, have got the message the reducing environmental impact is also about reducing costs and improving efficiencies.
After many years of prognostication the European Union has published its specification for an Ecolabel for products and services, excluding food and pharmaceuticals. This is a voluntary label designed to promote improved environmental performance. The idea is that consumers will choose products and services whose environmental impact on a life cycle basis is reduced.
The graphic arts industry often gets slammed for the waste and excess emissions it generates. Yet the printing industry is already implementing the Seven Cardinal Innovations as outlined by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. This organisation is heavy on research and academics, but has a proactive engagement with industry and governments.
It seems we rather hit a nerve with last week’s blog which isn’t so very surprising. That’s the trouble with blogging: not much room to develop an argument or adequately cover all sides of a problem. The blog’s purpose had been to highlight the dangers of denigrating digital printing on the basis that it isn’t deinkable. The fact that some print is suitable for most recycling processes and some very isn’t, is too nuanced for most media consumers.
Let’s be clear: consumers don’t care about how materials get recycled, as long as they can be recycled. The important point for all of us in the printing industry is that anything corrosive to the credibility of printed paper recycling undermines the industry’s longterm survival. Challenging the recyclability of digital prints damages the credibility of print’s sustainability, in every sense of the word.