Recycling is getting more complicated. Rapid developments in substrate recipes, inks and imaging technologies, render established business models meaningless. Disruption in packaging is turning everyone away from petrochemical based plastics, and paper recycling is becoming immensely confused. Deinking and recycling methods m ust keep pace.
HP has announced a $200 million investment into furthering its water based printing technologies for corrugated packaging and textile printing. The money will be spent on digital printing technologies for these applications in order to make them more sustainable.
A new cooperative for green printing has been set up for sheet fed offset printing companies. The Print the Change cooperative wants to attract organisations keen to turn themselves into more environmentally friendly outfits.
We all know the advantages of going direct to press for the environment. Direct digital printing requires no intermediate steps to create a printing forme. The print can be produced on demand and benefits from data driven production so variable data is possible and colour quality can be assured. On demand print also means reduced inventories, say five instead of five thousand, and can be produced close to its point of use. All this adds up to reduced emissions associated with consumables, processes, storage and transport.
These days interest in sustainability and reducing environmental impact appears to be high. At least it is amongst consumers and governments, but although lots of people talk the talk, the number of companies in the graphics industry actually doing anything real is pretty dismal. Even amongst big name manufacturers, there are few bespoke projects designed to help printers and publishers build more sustainable businesses.