Large format printing has historically found the transition to lower-impact ways of working a challenge – many of the processes, materials, and machinery found on the print floor aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. But in 2021, adopting sustainable business practices is an essential step for brands in almost every industry – and this has become an increasing priority for many print suppliers’ clients.
Those who can adapt and improve will increasingly become the better – if not the only – option for clients’ with strict sustainability policies and focuses; suppliers need to embrace a more sustainable approach to print if they’re going to stand out, which is precisely what PressOn have been doing over the last few years.
We’ve made some significant changes and progress, and while we continue to look at ways we can further reduce our impact on the environment, here are some of the most significant steps we’ve implemented:
The right tools for the job…
One of the biggest roadblocks to reducing environmental impact for many print suppliers is also one of the most fundamental elements of large format printing: machinery and materials. Digital wide format printing has come a long way in the last 20 years, and new printers and substrates are continuously being developed; as priorities shift towards an environmental focus, this is reflected in the new innovations on the market.
PressOn have always embraced cutting-edge technologies (they offer the very best results for our clients), and in recent years this has meant we’ve been able to take advantage of a number of products which offer a lower-impact solution. These include:
Water-based HP Latex Printers/Inks
PressOn have used HP printing products for years, not only for their performance but their outstanding commitment to improving their environmental impact. This is very much the case with their Latex 3000 series printers, which operate using water-based rather than solvent-based inks.
Solvents are one of the most harmful elements of the printing process, and by removing them – and developing a heat-based drying process – HP offer a vastly improved option. They also offer a recycling programme on all of their ink cartridges, which are made from card, and even reclaim the printers (which are also made of recycled components) at end of life as part of their take-back scheme.
Tension Fabric Frames
Increasingly, clients are keen to invest in media campaigns which can demonstrate their environmental considerations. This means that print suppliers need to find ways to offer alternatives to traditional PVC-based solutions, and for PressOn, the answer to this has been tension fabric frames.
These innovative print solutions are PVC-free, and instead utilise recycled PET fabrics. We print directly onto the fabric panels, for an outstanding visual finish (superior to many traditional PVC banners), and these prints are then inserted into aluminium frames; they can be installed by anyone, meaning we don’t need to send large teams out for installation, and they can be very easily stored and transported (they roll up, and the frames are built on-site) – all making for far lower emissions.
Tension frames are also endlessly versatile, making them ideal installation to use across all kinds of projects – this means that clients working on all kinds of campaigns can make use of these low-impact solutions.
Engaging in Productive Partnerships
In the world of print, with its intricate and multi-faceted supply chain, the businesses a print supplier chooses to engage and work with have a significant impact on their overall environmental impact. Even with a robust set of policies in place, if a company’s suppliers and partners aren’t taking a proactive approach to their sustainability, then hard work can amount to little overall change.
With this in mind, PressOn have chosen to work with supplier and specialists who endorse and facilitate a more positive relationship with the environment. In particular, two of our most effective partnerships are with HP and Veolia.
PressOn have been using Hewlett Packard’s outstanding print machinery for many years, but importantly, HP are also working closely with their print service suppliers to facilitate and improve lower impact processes.
This includes the ‘take back’ scheme mentioned above, which applies to their machinery, and ensures their printers aren’t simply sent to landfill – and their inks, which are delivered in recyclable materials, and provide lower emissions.
In broader terms too, HP are committed to facilitating more sustainable signage, meaning the benefits of the changes we are able to make can be passed directly on to our clients and their work.
One of the most significant areas of environmental concern for any business working in production is waste disposal. Even if sensitive choices are made for materials, transportation, and working practices, waste disposal still needs to be handled in an environmentally-conscious way, to ensure materials and more don’t end up in landfill.
This is a crucial part of PressOn’s environmental efforts: ensuring that low-impact solutions are considered at every stage of a project, from initial conception, to removal and disposal. In this effort, we’ve partnered with waste-disposal experts Veolia, who have ensured that all of our waste is removed using processes that’s conducive to low-impact operation.
In short – PressOn are a zero landfill company. Nothing we use gets sent to landfill, everything is either burned for energy recovery or recycled. Veolia provide an efficient, and accurate way to keep track of this via their customer hub, so we’re able to regularly monitor what’s happening to our waste; we can pass this level of insight onto our customers, enabling them to see our waste breakdowns in detail.
What this means for our clients
In summary, what all of this means is that by embracing a lower impact approach to the way we work and print solutions we produce, PressOn are able to offer our clients a more thoughtful printing solution.
In a world where our attitudes towards sustainability are more important than ever, it’s vital that print suppliers find solutions like these to adapt to increasing demand and necessity for our clients – and we will continue to make improvements wherever and whenever we can.