Sustainable Options to Go Green in Your Print Projects
We’re not just celebrating Earth Day, or Earth Month–we celebrate Earth-friendly materials all year long. You might be at the beginning of your sustainability journey, or well on your way. No matter where you are, a supply chain partner with the same values will help you achieve your sustainable goals. At C2 Imaging, we are on our own ESG journey and we’ll work with you to determine the best sustainable options for your next project.
Questions to ask before you begin
A supply chain partner can work with you to make sure your print project is sustainable from the very start. Sustainable graphics and signage begin with considering the design, materials, production process, and the lifecycle of the product. Before you begin, think about the following questions:
How long does the signage need to last? Is your campaign or project short-term or long-term? This will decide which material is best to use. Also consider how much waste is produced when you use short-term signage that can’t be reused or recycled. For example, if you have a one-time use booth, choose one that is blue bin recyclable for when the event is over.
Where will the signage end up? Do you want to recycle your items? Can you repurpose it for something else? Think about alternative end-of-life solutions for your event or promotion graphics and if you can use 100% recyclable materials.
What will transportation look like? Something like a 3D display can be flattened or disassembled to take up less space, giving it a smaller footprint, which lowers cost and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint.
Can you design with minimal waste? Before you start designing, think about if you can design to reduce material waste. This can help both your ESG efforts and your pocket, especially for large scale rollouts.
Consider alternative options during planning
Have you thought about how you could trade traditional print materials for greener alternatives? Vinyl is often a go-to in the print industry, and for good reason with its many uses. But it doesn’t break down or recycle well and can even create off-gassing that can be harmful to the environment. As part of our consultation, we can recommend some alternatives that perform similarly but have a lighter impact on the environment.
There are 100% recyclable options for retail that can be used for POP displays, window signs, and even permanent signage (like hanging signs, display danglers, and wayfinding signage). If your store decides to obtain new signage or reorganize, there are high-quality materials made from paper that can take the place of non-sustainable materials. These paper products can be recycled immediately after use, which is a win for temporary retail displays.
Print often uses a lot of trees to produce materials, so a great substitute is post-consumer waste (PCW) which uses recycled paper instead of new paper. PCW helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water waste created from paper production.
We do a lot of event signage–for tradeshow booths, conferences, retail, and music events, and even parades and marathons. One-time use event graphics often end up in a landfill at end of life, so consider using recyclable materials or rethinking your packaging. Instead of wrapping items in plastic, look for materials that use PCW or can be recycled. Your event might be large-scale, but the environmental impact doesn’t have to be.
Have you thought about a reusable sign system? This is a perfect option for areas that are constantly changing out graphics and messaging. For example, our Magna Mount system can switch out graphics easily to keep your in-store marketing fresh and customizable, with the option of reusing graphics year after year.
So many ways to think sustainable
No one material is 100% sustainabile, but there are more alternative options to consider apart from recycling. Look for these qualities in all parts of the print process and supply chain:
- Free from VOC (volatile organic compounds)
- Grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides
Now that you’re in the know, it helps to work with a supply chain partner to reach your goals. At C2, we can consult with you on the steps to take to be more sustainable. Contact us to learn more.