Printing and environmental impact mitigation have had a long and controversial history. On the one hand there are still too many people who dish the industry as an environmental hooligan. On the other there is the basics of why print is a such a sustainable industry: recycling, efficiency, print on demand and process automation all ensure that print is a sustainable industry sector. Print media products have a one time environmental impact and there are no emissions generated when they are used. This is in stark contrast to the considerable emissions associated with electronic media, from email to gaming.
ISO’s environmental standards have played a part in print’s improved environmental impact, although the need to compete and to offer value added services to print buyers has played a bigger role. The advent of open systems created an extremely competitive environment for traditional developers building bespoke and highly proprietary technologies. Prepress was a controlled and protected preserve, which made it especially vulnerable to the disruption that standard platforms and operating systems brought. Going direct to plate and subsequently direct to press, took further processes, costs and chemicals out of production, removing their related environmental aspects in the process.
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