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Archive for July, 2009

National Geographic magazine recently decided to determine the carbon footprint of their printed magazine. Typically, the paper industry has developed carbon footprints estimates based on manufacturing process data and with a focus on CO2 emissions. In this case, National Geographic was interested in knowing the broader marketplace picture involving contributions from the planting and harvesting of trees, paper manufacture and printing, and magazine delivery and final disposal.

Below is the article excerpt that reports the findings.

“The results of Verso’s portion of the study showed that to produce the paper for one National Geographic magazine weighing 12.3 ounces, 1.27 pounds of CO2 equivalents are emitted. When factoring in the printing, distribution, packaging and all other National Geographic activities associated with the development of the magazine, a total of 1.82 pounds of CO2 equivalents are emitted. To put this into perspective, the same amount of CO2 equivalents are emitted by consumers when driving just under 2 miles in a standard automobile with a 20 MPG rating.”

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Which is better for the environment, recycling paper or growing managed forest crops for paper production.

In Clare Taylor’s article, the answer is using the best balance of both approaches to a right green solution. Also, there are several additional elements that need to be factored in to tell the complete story. For example, de-inking technology has become much better to assist in recycling a high quality paper product. And companies cannot recycle paper indefinitely without adding virgin fibers to keep it going. Below is an excerpt from the article.

“Then too there is the perennial question of whether it’s better for the environment if we use recycled paper or paper made with pulp from sustainably managed forests. The answer lies in striking the right balance; paper fibres cannot be recycled indefinitely, and virgin fibres must be brought into the cycle to keep it going.

A further problem is the misconception that recycled paper is of poor quality for printing. De-inking technology has advanced rapidly over the past few years, as has print technology, and quality has improved accordingly.

And of course, another consideration is that if we don’t recycle the paper, what else can we do with it?”

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One of the leading components of eco-friendly commercial printing is the use of soy based inks. These 100% organic inks now offer the same level of color brightness, intensity and durability as their lead based ink counterparts. The following is an excerpt from William Alexaner’s article.

“In addition, one of the most important components is soy based inks, which are 100% organic. With our modern technology, soy based inks can achieve the same color intensity, durability and brightness than conventional VOC releasing (volatile organic compound) inks which are solvent or oil based. Or even worse, Chinese printing, their inks have a high content of lead. Many U.S. magazine companies are now printing in China to save money, there is nothing wrong with saving a few bucks, right?

Well, the problem is that we are killing the planet by using conventional printing and also our selves. Think about it, when you hold a magazine in your hands and you flip through it, how many times do you take your index finger to your mouth to get some moisture, so that the pages stick better and you can keep flipping through the magazine? Every time you do so, you are eating lead! On top of that, the printing industry employs more people in the U.S. than the car manufacturing industry, and now it is being outsourced to China.”

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Irwin Hodson Press of Portland, Oregon has taken delivery of a “10 color KBA Rapida 105 series UV perfecting press” which incorporates the latest in climate-neutral technology. The Rapida press is one of several new models of printing presses that will reduce CO2 emissions that typically arise from issues of transport, papers, inks and coatings and energy use.

The following is an excerpt from the climate-neutral products article.

“From carbon footprint to climate-neutral production
Irwin Hodson Press attaches particular significance to reducing its emissions of damaging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as far as possible. The CO2 emissions of a print company arise from its energy consumption, transport processes, papers, inks, coatings and a variety of further factors. And so ClimatePartner California Inc. was called in to determine the relevant carbon footprint for the overall company operations and on this basis to give recommendations on potential for effective reductions.

With an individualised emissions calculator, Irwin Hodson Press is now able to quote the specific emissions attributable to every print job. As an additional service to customers, these emissions can then be compensated through the purchasing of carbon offset certificates issued to support recognised climate protection projects. Printed products of all kinds, from flyers to business cards, can thus be ordered with a neutral impact on the Earth’s climate.”

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Digital printing has become a substancial component in the green printing movement. Digital printing allows for short runs on an “as needed” basis. The result is fewer obsolete printed matertials are being thrown away, or less paper waste.

Below is an excerpt from Buzz Tatom’s article.

“Digital printing was invented for smaller quantity runs at lower costs but does a pretty good job of being eco-friendly. One of the reasons for the substantial growth in digital printing was the need for people to print smaller quantities due to information changing on their printed literature. This reduction in obsolescence has reduced the amount of old literature not deemed useful anymore being thrown away. While this was not necessarily by design this has saved a massive amount of trees by doing more relevant Just-In-Time printing.”

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The printing industry is ranked fourth in the amount of energy used annually. That’s a rather large carbon footprint. Print aggregation can help mitigate the tremendous consumption of energy through processing efficiencies and reduced transportation costs. As Chris Sewell’s article points out, there is a new focus on the “green printer”. Green printing means reducing the carbon and environmental footprint. Green printing is achieved through digital printing, printing aggregation systems, better inks, recycling chemicals and of course saving energy. Here is an excerpt –

Most people would be surprised to learn that the paper and printing industry has ranked fourth among the manufacturing industries in the amount of energy used. Producing paper and the electricity used for factory operations, as well as the actual printing process, demand lots of energy.

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Our story is one of print aggregation and it is one of the most dynamic stories of how the printing industry in changing in 2009. Print aggregation really wasn’t possible 10 years ago. How different is the print industry today compared to ten years ago. For some insights, please see the following excerpt and Viojieley Gurrobat’s article

“Consider for a moment how different the printing industry is today compared to ten years ago. Few could have foreseen the remarkable depth and breadth of change the industry has experienced over the past decade. Now cast an eye to the future. In what ways and to what extent will the industry continue to evolve over the next ten years? What specific areas will experience growth? Which will suffer or cease to exist? What new technologies will emerge? Will the lines between services—including creative, prepress, photography, and printing—continue to blur? Nevertheless, with the continued progress that the printing industry is experiencing, digital printing is one of the technologies that keep on improving.”

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