Can large format printing be Eco-friendly?

When thinking of eco-friendly industries printing is not the first that comes to mind. Even though, more and more companies are starting to print more ethically and sustainably and it can be said that large format digital printing industry has taken great steps towards a more eco-friendly future. This fact is proving that companies do not need to compromise quality and efficiency in order for the printed media to become more environmentally sustainable. There are various ways a large format printing company can become more eco-friendly whether they are based on the equipment and machinery, materials or the company’s operations. 

Machinery Advancements

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Every year new digital printing technology emerges, aiming to find new ways to improve the printing quality while minimising printing time. During the last years, developments on the large format printing technology have been generated considering sustainability as a great priority. Latest machinery is operating in super fast speed which leads to driving down operational costs due to the significantly less energy consumption.

 In MediaCo as we invest in developing our technological capacity we also make sure that we expand our environmental standards. Several of our latest investments in printers that operate in the best production speed in the market, have given us the opportunity to enhance our capacity of producing seamless fabric products by almost any length. Machinery investments like the acquisition of the three 5m printers and the HP Latex 3600 have provided us the capability to print more eco-friendly. We are able to produce several media in one go as well as reduce the need for sewing and welding processes.

But that is not only it; the technology used by this equipment (like pin and cure, UV LED curing and high colour accuracy) has contributed to the reduction of waste and consumable parts and the enhancement of getting the product right the first time, on time. It is worth mentioning that, UV LED lamps have longer life expectancy and consume less energy than conventional UV lamps. Further on, the high colour accuracy due to the embedded colour profiling technique, as well as the availability of 8 different ink dot sizes even in the high speed mode and consistent colour output are reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency.

Sustainable Materials

Large format printing companies operate with various different materials. It is widely known that not all materials can be fully recycled. New developments have introduced highly and even fully recyclable materials. MediaCo ‘s environmental management system has been certified with the ISO 14001. We strongly encourage our clients to send used media back to our premises, aiming to enhance our compliance with the 3R’s standard (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), by making sure that they will be recycled responsibly and the clients will be offered a certification for their action.

As not all media can be fully recyclable, we have adopted a different approach to enhance their eco-friendliness. MediaCo investment policy over the past 10 years has largely mirrored EU directives/ REACH regulations and has migrated to new technologies which are more environmentally compliant and energy efficient. Today MediaCo has increased the use of water based inks to around 65% of all production where 93% of all ink used is Green Guard compliant. 

Moreover, water based ink, which is made by suspending a 100% biodegradable pigment into a water base, is gaining popularity within the printing industry due to its combination of quality, affordability, and eco-friendliness. As a compound, water-based ink is much gentler on the environment than the common Plastisol ink. It simply doesn’t contain any of the toxic chemicals of its Plastisol counterparts (no PVC, no phthalates). Instead it’s comprised of naturally occurring substances. Because of this, water based ink is much less risky for printers, consumers, and the environment. In addition, because it’s water soluble, no specialised chemicals are required for its clean up. This keeps potentially harmful substances out of our waste and water supply. Water based inks are only eco-friendly when they are used and disposed in a responsible manner. 

Being environmentally sustainable is not just a trend anymore; every company should adopt sustainable approaches and techniques to minimise its impact on the environment. The printing industry has not been an example of eco-friendliness but this has started to change over the previous years. 

This blog highlights some simple ways based on the machinery and the materials that contribute in enhancing the eco-friendliness of a printing company. MediaCo is constantly developing its services aiming to always deliver products on the highest quality and sustainability standards. Investing on the latest machinery and materials of the industry has reinforced our ability to keep our customers satisfied and fulfil a part of our corporate social responsibility.

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