Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alternative printng

Many schools and businesses across the U.S have become inspired to go paperless to help the environment. Some are also switching to other alternatives such as more eco-friendly ways to print.

Special education teacher Marie Daily who teaches at Manhattan Beach Middle School said that her students are cutting down on the paper they use to do homework.

“ I am always looking for new ways to help save the environment and educating my students on other products that are more green, organic, recycled and reused,” Daily said.

A new company called Printing Responsibly is an eco-friendly printing company that educates its clients on how important it is to print using green and recycled papers.

Christopher Gravagna, co-owner of Printing Responsibly said that the goal of the company is to push customers in the right direction and give them an education on how the technology works.

“Printing responsibly is not only to promote a different way of thinking, but also a way of printing,” Gravagna said.

The company prints on only recycled paper, which is Forest Stewardship Council certified and chlorine free papers that contain varying levels of post-consumer waste that are manufactured by popular paper mills.

The company prints using a waterless printing press and other Heidelberg presses that eliminates any dependency on chemicals that could be harmful to the health of their employees or the environment.

“We use Soy based ink as opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink,” Gravagna said.

Soy based ink is environmentally and non-toxic; it is also improves the life span of presses and makes it easier to recycle paper. Additionally jobs require less ink to print the same amount of paper compared to petroleum inks. Soy ink has been found to spread approximately 15% farther, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.

Studies show that most petroleum-based inks can cause cancer and birth defects. Many printed papers end up in landfills and toxins are released into the air as fresh inks dry.

According to the Printing Responsibly website the cultivation of the soybeans uses only 5 percent of the total energy necessary to produce the ink. Much of that crop requires no irrigation, limited fixed nutrients, and leaves fewer agricultural residues than other crops.
This cost for soy inks is significantly lower than the initial market price, and it is at this point that they become competitive with their petroleum counterparts.

The process of forestry is also important,” Gravagna said.

Recycled Products Cooperative, a non-profit coperatve dedicated to the conservation of natural resources and promoting the use of recycled paper and products, estimates that more than 100 million trees are cut each year to supply fiber for writing and printing papers in the United States.
Consumers can also help the environment by checking their products to see if they have the recycling symbols on the packaging and can check to see what percentage of recycled fiber was used during the manufacturing process.

Important stamps of approval include the emblems of the Forest Stewardship Council and Chlorine Free Product Association For these symbols to appear on products, they must meet specific standards determined by the International Standards Organization.
Some environmentally friendly products may be a bit more expensive than your normal bottle of bleach. It’s important, however, not to view pricing issues as constraints. Instead, think creatively to help balance benefits with costs.

Also combining projects whenever possible is wise. One idea is to print business cards and postcards from the same recycled paper. In the long run your clients may save money and they will also be honoring the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that federal agencies use uncoated printing and writing papers containing at least 30-percent post-consumer content. Consider using these guidelines when selecting paper for your projects.

Printing Responsibly gives you many alternatives to help you save money and the environment with their products and services. If a client does not want to switch to paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content, they will find a way to reduce the number of pages used instead. The company has many suggestions on what different types of paper you can use for various different projects. For example, some publications use high-quality coated paper for advertisements, but Printing Responsibly can help you choose an uncoated paper with higher post consumer content that is just as effective.

Even though we are moving into a paperless society, we still need to meet the challenges of what ends up in our landfill and sustaining our forests. If more businesses become more knowledgeable about their products and the chemicals they may contain the environment will be a much better place.

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