Green Printing: A Cost Effective Path to Environmental Friendliness (Part II)

Green Printing: A Better Solution

Green printing is seen to be the better, safer alternative that will allow the printing industry to become friendlier to the environment. There are many ways by which green printing can help alleviate the environmental crisis.

Reversal of Forest Denudation

Green printing forces companies to look for other sources of materials to produce paper aside from pulp processed from trees. As stated above, the creation of virgin paper is a huge contributor to the denudation of forests.

Through efforts of advocacy groups, other sources have been found for use as raw materials for making paper. These sources are more environmentally sustainable. Moreover, they yield paper products that are as durable and as high in quality as virgin paper. Among these new sources of raw paper materials are hemp, synthetics and reclaimed blue jean cotton (Hart 2005).

And then, there is always recycled paper and post-consumer waste (PCW) paper. Benson defines recycled paper as: "paper that contains different grades (10-100%) of recycled paper fibers. On the other hand, PCW paper is "recycled after used by a consumer and thrown away."

Reducing dependency on Petroleum

The second benefit is that green printing reduces dependence on petroleum which is a non-renewable resource. Petroleum is almost everywhere in the traditional printing process. It is used to power the printing presses and other equipment used in printing and in producing paper. Inks used in printing are often based on petroleum. The glues and adhesives utilized in binding paper are also derived from petroleum (Cook 2006).

Green printers are now making use of computers and equipment that are more energy-efficient. A few have even come to use wind-powered or solar-powered presses. Soy-based ink is also becoming a staple among companies that make use of green printing practices (Hart 2005).

Reducing Toxins and Waste materials release

Third, green printing reduces the levels of toxins and waste materials being released back into the environment. With green printers veering away from materials that release toxic chemicals and VOCs to the environment, which lead to health problems among workers in printing presses and the general populace, there is hope that these problems will eventually go away.

While the solutions that green printing poses are not as dramatic at first glance as one might expect them to be, their impact over time indeed promises to be fruitful. What is needed, however, is a conscious effort to practice green printing continuously and consistently.

Companies and Individuals can both benefit from Green Printing

As great as green printing may sound, what benefit does it actually hold for companies and individuals? Are these benefits enough to entice them to practice green printing?

The concept of green printing has been around for a number of years now, and while an increasing number of companies are embracing the practice, there still exist a number of myths and misconceptions about it.

One misconception about green printing is that recycled or PCW paper is not as good in quality as virgin paper, nor is it as durable. That is certainly not true. Not all recycled or PCW paper products are brown in color. There are types of processes that can make them appear as white and as durable as virgin paper (Cook 2005).

Another myth held by the majority of the public is that the usage of recycled or PCW will not yield high-quality printouts, unlike those made with virgin paper. Again, this is not true. A printout made with recycled or PCW paper can be virtually indistinguishable from a printout using virgin paper.

A third myth about green printing is that it is more expensive than regular printing. While it is true that green printing can sometimes cost more, the reason for this merely has to do with supply and demand (Cook 2005). Presently, the demand for recycled and PCW paper is not as high as the demand for virgin paper is. When the demand for recycled and PCW paper becomes higher than virgin paper, a lowering in costs can be seen, because producing recycled and PCW paper costs less and consumes less energy.

Moreover, printing companies that are dedicated to green printing take the time to educate their clients about the merits and cost-efficiency of green printing. They even go so far as to suggest how to decrease the cost of the printing jobs commissioned from them.

Besides being environmentally conscious, going green can help to reduce printing costs. It should be noted; however, that green printing is not just about the paper being used but also how the paper and the equipment for printing on paper are used.

A common practice in green printing is reducing the margins and spaces on printed documents, as well as compressing or eliminating filler pages like title pages or the table of contents. Using both sides of the paper is also desirable in green printing. In doing so, less paper is consumed, and thus, a decrease in the cost of maintaining a paper supply is seen.

Makower asserted that the best practice in green printing is no printing. Digitalization, the creation of portable document files (PDFs), and paperless communication through emails and instant messaging are still the most environmentally-sustainable and cost-effective practices that people can adopt.


But inasmuch as people and companies still cannot totally eliminate paper from their daily usage, green printing presents itself as a viable alternative. Green printing is not only an exercise in environmental responsibility, but it is also an effective means of bringing down costs of office supplies. If people and companies cannot worry too much about the environment, then the cost-effectiveness of green printing will at least get their attention.


Electricity Rates Texas said...

which printers use the least electricity?

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