FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council . This non profit organization provides third-party certification for the paper industry to ensure they are following strict procedures in managing their forests.
The FSC wants to ensure the forests are managed properly, new trees can grow and forests are not harvested to depletion. To have a printing job officially certified by the FSC, several very important procedures must be followed. The paper merchant must provide documentation that the paper bought is FSC certified, the printer must be FSC certified and all documentation must be submitted to the FSC for verification. Once approved, they will provide a code that must be printed in the correct position next to the FSC logo.
SFI stands for Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and it is also an independent auditor of good forestry practices. It is simply an alternative to FSC-certification and is just as good an indicator of sustainably harvested paper stock.
These two organizations can be greatly credited for ensuring that trees get planted on this planet by the very industry that depends on them.
Recycled – The term “recycled paper” can have several meanings. The EPA guidelines require a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated printing and writing paper, and a minimum of 10% post-consumer content for coated papers. Post-consumer is paper that has already been used and returned through a recycling program, thereby diverting it from a landfill or incinerator. It is usually deinked and then processed to make new paper. Office paper waste makes up the majority of post-consumer waste content that is used to make recycled copy and printing papers. Other forms of paper, such as newsprint, corrugated packaging, tissue, and others, also require post-consumer content. You can find various degrees of recycled content papers at most major retailers. You can also request that recycled paper be used when printing your office stationary, business cards or other marketing collateral. With increased demand for this type of paper, in most cases the cost for printing on paper containing recycled content is in line with non-recycled. Ask your printer for two quotes the next time you place your order.
Soy & Vegetable Inks - Until recently, the printing industry used petroleum-based inks, which have two primary environmental drawbacks. First, they are made using a non-renewable resource (petroleum). Second, petroleum-based inks release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs); VOCs reduce indoor air quality and can have negative short and long-term health effects. Fortunately, an environmentally responsible alternative is available: soy inks, which are derived from soybeans. This alternative was originally developed for use in newspaper printing, but spread to the printing of other items, such as your business cards, marketing collateral, and product catalogs.
So what are the actual benefits of using soy inks instead of petroleum-based inks? And, how will it affect the colors on your printed piece?
- Soy inks are more sustainable – they come from a renewable resource, unlike petroleum
- Soy inks are more environmentally friendly – some actually release zero VOCs
- Paper printed with soy inks can be deinked more easily, making it easier to recycle
- Spot colors are available, so you can still get the exact color you need in your logo
- You actually get colors that are brighter, more vivid and pop!
What does this mean for you? This is a simple but important step in greening your printing. Make sure that all of your printing is done using soy (or vegetable-based) inks. You’ll still get the great color you want (except fluorescent and metallic colors, which are petroleum-based), but with twice the environmental benefit – fewer emissions during the production process and the paper will be easier to recycle afterwards.
Lastly we take a look at the amount of unnecessary printing that takes place in your office. As mentioned before, office waste makes up the majority of paper that heads to our landfills everyday. The tag line “Think before you Print” is on the bottom of many emails that come across your screen, but do you actually do it? Or are you like most Americans that hit that print button to only see that email later laying in the trash (or hopefully the recycling bin). We could reduce a huge amount of office waste by just taking that advice. Do you really need that email on paper? Save money on paper, waste and recycling costs. This is one action that could definitely add some GREEN to your bottom line!
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