Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Going Green Getting Easier for Printers

Everyone wants to be "green." For printers, it is a constant battle to get the message out that a printer can be green and that the work being done doesn't contribute to the loss of trees.

There are a number of high dollar groups you can join who are suppose to "certify" that you, after paying a large fee, are a green printer. Even if you decide to go that way, most of the certifiers are only looking a paper use and nothing else. Is this really being green?

There is help for small printers without a large budget. The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) offers an online “Environmental Policy and Vision Statement Generator” that can be used to not only help you write your own statement, but it is also a checklist for sustainability activities. It can make it easy for a company to go green.

While the DMA is a trade organization for companies who use a variety of media including direct mail to sell their products, the online statement generator is useful for any company using or producing printed materials. It covers five areas:
• List Hygiene and Data Management
• Design
• Paper Procurement and Usage
• Printing and Packaging
• Recycling and Pollution Reduction
According to DMA officials, because this checklist/statement generator is used by print buyers/users, as well as print producers, printers can also use it to understand how direct marketers are thinking about sustainability.

When you’ve completed the checklist and customized the statement to fit your operation, have a copy emailed to you. In a matter of minutes you have created a formal environmental policy statement that you can put into your own format and publish. Get the checklist at

International Paper has published a “Down to Earth” series to help printers explain some of the printing industry environmental practices to customers. The latest is “Pixels vs. Paper,” which compares print with electronic media in terms of their respective “greenness.” Among the advantages of paper are that it comes from trees, a renewable resource, and it is biodegradable, with some 60% of all paper being recycled vs. 18% of all electronic devices. Others in the series cover certification, recycled vs. virgin paper, and carbon footprints.

There are three other brochures in the “Down to Earth” series including “Certification: Where does your paper come from?”; “Recycled vs. Virgin: Is recycled paper the best you can do?” and “Carbon Footprint: How big is your carbon footprint?”

You can find the PDFs or order brochures at It is listed under Sustainability information in the left column.

Every printer should be doing his or her part in helping the environment and every printer should be telling the customer about it.

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