According to the BPiF, the UK is the world’s fifth largest producer of printed products. In 2016, the industry contributed £775m to the British economy. Despite the rise and rise of digital technology, printing in the UK is still enjoying growth, even though in the last few months this has slowed slightly in the light of Brexit uncertainty. This also calls for concern on print waste as a lot of paper is involved in the process.
How green is your paper?
It follows that if we’re doing more printing, we need to use more trees in order to produce the extra paper, which is an obvious environmental concern. Thankfully, schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council have increased the awareness and use of sustainable forests to produce the raw materials. In the decade to 2015, the amount of sustainable forests in Europe grew by an area larger than Switzerland.
The recyclability of paper has also helped to make it one of the world’s most recycled materials. In Europe in 2015, 72% of paper was recycled.
What people don’t realise is that the digital revolution isn’t necessarily the environmental saviour we generally think it is. There are many myths around the greenness of the use of digital – so-called ‘greenwashing’, e.g. that email is more environmentally friendly than paper. Indeed, the Swedish Royal Institute for Technology found that: “With a reading time of 30 minutes per day, the environmental impact of a web-based newspaper is, in general, in the same range as a printed newspaper’s environmental impact”.
New UK waste regulations introduced in 2015 mean that printers, along with all businesses, are required to separate recyclable materials by law. And printers, in particular, are likely to produce more waste than other sectors, which includes ink, toner cartridges, cardboard packaging, chemicals, CDs/DVDs, electricals and electronics, as well as office waste.
To help printers comply with the rules, the BPiF has produced detailed guidelines on how to be greener in all aspects of production.
The BPiF advises that by going greener than the law requires, a printer will not only reduce waste and save money, they will also demonstrate good environmental credentials to customers, thereby increasing brand loyalty. In essence, using a baler will help you comply with these rules by reducing waste, saving time, space and money.