Is Digital Printing Better for the Environment?

Digital printing provides a wealth of solutions for businesses, groups and organizations of all types. But as more consumers become concerned with their carbon footprint and the fragility of the environment, we often get questions about the environmental impact of both digital and offset printing.

Is Digital Printing Better for the Environment?

If you had to choose digital printing, offset printing or sending a document in electronic format, which approach do you believe would be best for the environment? The answer might surprise you.

Should We Abandon Printing to Preserve the Environment?

Plenty of research exists today to debunk the myth that digital printing is destroying our planet.

The truth is that the electronics industry uses more finite resources and generates more hazardous waste than the printing industry, hands down. You might think that sending an email or electronic file has no environmental impact, but consider what’s required to make that happen.

Sending a document electronically takes computers (or smartphones or tablets), data storage, electricity, and in many cases, the recipient ends up printing out the file or document anyway and sticking it in a file.

How Does Digital Compare to Offset Printing?

Like any “would-you-rather” scenario, both printing platforms have benefits and drawbacks. However, the bottom line is that advanced technology has reduced the environmental impact of both types today.

The research shows that digital printing uses more energy and ink or toner than offset presses, but the digital approach uses fewer chemicals and less water and produces less waste than offset or lithographic printing.

Conscientious printing companies do much to offset any potential hazards by using materials that are ethically sourced and sustainably managed, by recycling, and whenever possible, using renewable energy technologies.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Digital Printing

Although the overall environmental impact of digital printing is not that onerous, you can take some steps to reduce it even further.

Before designing a piece for printing, consider the size for your paper or card stock of choice. By adapting the size of your piece to the size of the available stock, you can significantly reduce waste. If you plan your design to avoid bleeds, you can also save waste and cost.

Because digital printing is ideal for short runs — and short notice — don’t print more than you really believe you need. Proof your design well before sending it to press, to ensure you don’t need to revise it later to correct a mistake. Whenever possible, send your materials out in digital format to those recipients who would prefer that form, rather than a hard copy.

You can also choose recycled stock for your print job. Although it’s less of an issue with the digital platform, you can also talk to us about how to avoid using inks that make the finished product difficult to recycle when it’s reached the end of its useful life.

Sun Print Solutions cares about the environment, and we take as many precautions as possible to reduce the impact our business has. We would be delighted to help you find ways to be kinder to the Earth while ensuring that you have the offset and digital printing services you need.

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