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Five steps the print industry has taken towards sustainable print

Here at PMG Print Management environmental sustainability is a very important topic to us. Friday the 5th of June is World Environment Day, so we thought now would be the perfect time to examine the print industry’s recent efforts to achieve sustainable print. What steps has the sector taken in recent years, and what more can be done to improve?

Sustainable logging

To many, print remains intrinsically linked with logging – it’s the reason so many businesses continue to espouse the idea of the ‘paperless office’. However, sustainable logging is a process now considered standard practice amongst most paper producers. Instead of merely clearing forest for the timber producers need to make paper, sustainable logging firms now plant far more trees than they fell, guaranteeing the future of the forest and protecting precious natural environments. The European forests where the vast majority of our paper comes from are actually increasing in size by dozens of square miles every year.

Improved paper manufacture

Historically, sourcing the raw materials was only one aspect of paper manufacture perceived as harmful to the environment. To this day, it’s widely believed that paper manufacture requires a lot of non-renewable energy and generates a significant carbon footprint. However, this isn’t by any means the case. Twosides.info provides data on the environmental impact of print, and some of the figures regarding paper manufacture are arresting indeed. Household mail, for example, is responsible for just 0.1% of the average European family’s annual CO2 emissions – or the equivalent of ‘five cheeseburgers’. Furthermore, 54% of the energy used in European paper manufacture is now biomass-based, so both low carbon and renewable.


Recycling has long been an integral aspect of sustainable print, and it remains highly important to this day. Most printed materials can be partially or completely recycled, as opposed to digital devices such as tablets and smartphones – devices that often contain heavy metals posing a significant threat to the environment. Paper recycling requires virgin fibre to create a useable product, but when combined with sustainable logging the process is very environmentally sound.

Sustainable ink

Recent advances may have helped to ensure that paper is environmentally sustainable, but what about ink? Significant progress has been made to ensure that ink is increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly, too. Vegetable oil-based inks have been with us since the 1980s, and are now viable, sustainable alternatives to petrochemical-based inks.

Print management

One of the most significant steps taken towards sustainable print is the widespread adoption of print management in businesses worldwide. Print management seeks to implement print best practice in both inside and outside print processes, ensuring that businesses don’t needlessly waste resources. Print management companies such as PMG can help you to improve your relationship with print, reducing errors and mistakes, improving print effectiveness and helping you to achieve a significant return on your print investment.

The print sector has come a long way in recent years as far as sustainability is concerned, but there’s still more that can be achieved. Let us help you reduce your business’ carbon footprint by using print more effectively. Contact us today to find out more about print management and how it can benefit you.

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