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Sustainable (Green) Large Format Printing – Does it Exist?

AUGUST 24, 2018| SpeedPro Imaging Marin

Sustainable printing, also referred to as “Green” printing has been sought after for many years by those who are mindful about the environment.  When Speedpro Imaging – Marin opened its doors eight years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area, they too were eager to utilize sustainable materials at their large format print studio.  They quickly learned that truly sustainable materials were not as plentiful as the market suggested.

As they began to dig into all the ‘green’ options, Speedpro Marin discovered that at least 80% of the materials billed themselves as sustainable, 100% recyclable, etc. were, in fact, green-washing.  Greenwashing is when an organization mis-represents its products or services as environmentally-friendly.  “Promoting Green products presents a lot of gray area”, according to Steve Moran-Cassese, Principal of Speedpro Imaging – Marin.  “It’s unfortunate that organizations stretch the truth or simply mislead the public”.

The truth of the matter is that there aren’t a lot of sustainable printing materials.  Speedpro Marin was determined not to greenwash its clients with false claims.  So they did some research on sustainable materials to educate themselves and their client base.

Here are some of the vinyl materials and rigid board options that Speedpro Marin considers to have a passing grade as environmentally-friendly products.

Printable Media

3M 480C printable vinyl – while 480C is not 100% recyclable, it is a more sustainable option given that it does not contain PVC, which is one of the worst enemies of Mother Nature and take decades to decompose.  This media will not decompose much faster but at least it keeps PVC out of the landfill.

Hewlett Packard makes a few products that Speedpro Marin likes and sells to its clients. HP HDPE banner media is PVC-free, durable and 100% recyclable.  One of the key benefits of this HP product: they will recycle it for you.  HP will even provide a shipping slip to return the banners to their facility.  HP also produces an PVC-free wallpaper.  “Print this wallpaper on a latex ink printer and you’ve made a small difference”, said Moran-Cassese.

Rigid Substrates

Falconboard™ is a Speedpro Marin favorite.  “Falconboard is strong, flat and prints great…and it’s a sustainable product.   We have many clients that love to use Falconboard for events, POP displays and tradeshows”, said Moran-Cassese.  It is manufactured out of 100% paper-based kraft liner using the same robust core as Print and Build products.  It creates a cost-effective environmentally-friendly solution for graphic applications.  Falconboard™ is also certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and is 100% recyclable.

There are a variety of other sustainable materials similar to Falconboard that include EnviroBoard, Converd Board, corrugated cardboard and cardstock – all paper-based products.  And don’t for get wood!  There are different choices for finished plywood materials that are compatible for printing signs.  Wood Veneer products and MDO are two more popular options.

“Ultimately it’s up to the client to do their own research and ask the right questions when discussing sustainable printing solutions with their printer.  Everyone has a different definition of sustainability”, said Moran-Cassese.

For more information on sustainable print materials, you can contact Speedpro Imaging – Marin in the San Francisco Bay Area at informarin@speedpro.com or visit Speedpro Imaging – Marin here.

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