FSC and Printing Green
“I want to find a green printer, so I just look for FSC certification, right?”
Claiming a printer is printing in an environmentally sustainable manner because of an FSC certification is like owning a Toyota Prius and towing the Hummer you drive to work with it. Basically, it’s one very small step in a very big process.
“What is FSC and what do they do?”
FSC is an acronym for the Forest Stewardship Council. Their mission is to insure what is called “chain of custody” in the forest products stream. Their concern is tracking wood products from the seed through to the final customer. The FSC certification for a tree plantation is meant to ensure they are using sustainable forestry practices.
“That sounds pretty greay, what’s the problem?”
Because their concern is just in chain of custody, being certified as a printer simply means that you pay the FSC an annual fee of approximately eight thousand dollars to be able to use their logo on printed material and all they care about is that the chain of custody is kept intact. This means that when the paper is delivered, the printer must clearly mark the product as FSC certified paper and store it in a location marked FSC paper. That’s it. No concern is given to how the toxic inks imaginable, dump their toxic wastewater down the drain, and be burying waste in the back yard but as long as they have a few stickers marked FSC and a few square feet of storage space set aside, they are in compliance as an FSC printer.
“But isn’t FSC certified paper a good thing?”
Yes, and no. The FSC mandate for a tree plantation states that they prefer they practice sustainable forestry, not that they must practice certified plantations clear cutting a swath of Brazilian rinforest the size of Delaware. Also, chain of custody ensures you are using virgin forest products. Meaning a tree just lost it's life. Now the FSC understands that's not necessarily a good thing and also certifies recycled paper. Our question is, how can you certify chain of custody when there is no way to know where that recycled paper came from in the first place? lost it’s life. Now the FSC undderstands that's not necessarily a good thing and also certifies recycled paper. Our question is, how can you certify chain of custody when there is no way to know where that recycled paper came from in the first place?
"So what should I do, I want to be environ-mentally friendly in our print purchasing?"
Look into how the printing company you are considering actually prints. What type of print processes are they using? How much waste are they generating? Then you will be able to decide who prints green and who just uses green as a marketing gimmick. When you're looking, take a look at The Digital Frontier. Whether it's digital, offset, or inkjet; we have the most environmentally friendly and sustainable print practices you may ever find.
Xerox iGen3 110 Digital Press
The highlights of printing with a digital press, especially the iGen are as follows:
Digital Printing, often called Print On Demand, reduces paper waste by only printing what is needed for a specific application. Since the press comes up to color on the first sheet, there are no make-readies involved thereby reducing paper and consumable waste.
Dry inks are non-toxic and have closed containers with a transfer efficiency rate of near 100%.
De-Inking is the process of removing the printing ink from the paper so that it can be recycled. The iGen3 passed the INGEDE (International Association of the De-inking Industry) standards test with flying colors. This means recycled printed paper off the iGen can be recycled into printable paper again. This is something that the HP Ingdigo’s can not claim as their paper must be repurposed since the ink does not come off the sheet for recycling as printable paper.
The iGen3 emits 80% less noise than a typical offset press.
No generation or use of alcohols, chlorinated solvents, acids, and flammable materials.
More than 80% of the waste generated by the iGen can be returned, reused, or recycled and 97% of the components of the iGen are recyclable or re-manufacturable.
The iGen is able to print on a wide array of recycled and FSC certified papers.
Vutek-Super-wide Inket Printer
Our Vutek Superwide Inkjet Pirnter prints with UV inks. Uv ink sets greatly reduce the amount of VOC’s emitted by solvent inkjet printers.
UV inksets are outdoor rated for two years which eliminates the need to laminate, the Vutek keeps the sustainability of printed signage viable.
The Vutek has the ability to print on recycled and re-cyclable materials.
The Vutek has the ability to print on recyclable vinyls. Normal vinyl used by other inkjets, never break down and can remain in our landfills forever. By using vinyl like Bioflex, once designated for the land fill, these banners can decompose in as little as three years compared to never on other vinyl materials.
All plastic wastes are held for recycling and we continually look for recycling opportunities for scrapand waste materials.
EFI RIP technology maximizes print usage, cutting down on paper and ink waste.
When is Green Grey?
When it comes to the way printing companies today are marketing themselves, it almost always is. Nearly every printer is making claims to their “green-ness.” It may be that they can print on a 10% recycled stock, or that they recycle their paper waste, or even that they are FSC certified, but if you look closely, they are not so green after all.
At The Digital Frontier, we believe that printing green and being green is a process, not a political statement or a quick way to capitalize on a trend.
Our presses and print processes are the most environmentally friendly available today and we welcome you to compare us against anyone in the industry.
Ask your sales representative to explain why someone’s green may be really grey and why this all really matters anyway.
Heidelberg DI Offset Press
We print with a press called the Heidelberg DI. It is a direct to plate waterless offest printing
press that is one of the most enironmentally friendly offset print processes in the world.
Waterless printing not only saves on water conservation but since the DI does not use water, there are no chemically tainted waste water disposal concerns.
Plates for the DI are imaged right on the press using a thermal process which uses no chemcals. All four plates are imaged simultaneously so registration is perfect and make ready is less than 100 sheets making paper waste savingsdramatic. After the print run is completed, all plate material is recycled back to the manufacturer for re-plating.
The reduction of paper waste is significant when you consider that one tree is equivalent to only 236 11”x17” brochures printed on 100# cover stock.
The DI’s waterless press design eliminates what is usually the largest portion of a printer’s VOC output - solvent based press washes and blanket wash solutions. These benefits coupled with the thermal plate imaging, reduce the VOC by up to 90%.
We print with Soy-based inks, and can print virtually any recycled stock. We can buy any FSC or SFI certified paper from certified paper
All paper waste is recycled and the proceeds from that process are donated to the “Young Printers Scholarship Fund.”