Ecological Printing 101


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By Albert Segovia
January 4, 2012 

More than a quarter of landfill waste comes from paper, according to the Environmental Paper Network’s 2011 report. While large publishing companies are slowly making changes to reduce their impact, Sierra Club Green Home readers can do their part as well. Here are the basics: buy consciously, recycle properly, and reduce paper use.

  • Buy consciously: Look for paper and print products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This supports responsible forest management, and directly benefits the communities who supply raw materials from forests.Nontoxic ink cartridges are also widely available. Compared to oil-based ink, soy- and vegetable-based ink cartridges emit considerably fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Recycle properly: recycling helps to offset the high levels of waste associated with printing. Make sure recycling bins are available in your home, neighborhood, and workplace.
  • Reduce paper use: print on both sides of the paper, write notes down on scratch paper (or type them into your phone) instead of printing, and check the print preview to ensure that you are not printing unnecessary pages.

Sustainable printing certifications also exist for companies who wish to reduce their facilities’ ecological footprint. Organizations such as the nonprofit Sustainable Green Printing Partnership exist to promote and implement this type of sustainability.

Print with the source and destination of your pages in mind, and you’ll be helping address a major source of our waste. Spread the word about sustainable prints!

For related articles, see:
Send the Write Message with eco-friendly greeting cards.
Opportunity Green Start-up: PrintEco saves paper when printing pages from the Internet.

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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