Running a ‘green’ office can be challenging and does have an initial outlay of fees. However, when done right, it can be both fruitful to the environment and the business alike. There are the obvious changes that can be made such as installing recycling points within your office and changing light fittings to be more energy efficient, but what happens when you rely on printing for your business?
There are ways in which you can print all those important documents that you need and still help the world to become a greener place. By making some small tweaks to both your printer and the items you use for the printing process, you will find a happy medium between becoming a green office and saving some money in the long run – what could be better?
Environmentally friendly paper
Delving into the world of what is environmentally friendly and what isn’t can be extremely confusing. With so many symbols and paper qualities to take into account, it is not easy to make sure that you have picked the right one for you and your business needs. Ultimately, the paper that you choose will need to fit the purpose it is being used for; for example, a magazine will need a different quality of finish than a company audit. Here is a breakdown of typical paper uses and how to go about choosing the right paper for your business – that is also environmentally-friendly.
Look for the percentage rate of the recycled materials within the paper. This is the first step to deciding whether the paper is right for your purpose or not. Sheets made from 50% recycled paper will have the qualities needed for structuring a magazine. On the other hand, a 100% recycled product tends to be thinner at round 100 GSM (the technical term for the paper thickness and quality), and this would be the perfect paper for printing reports and letters.
Once you have an idea of the recycled material percentage you need, you will also have the option to choose chemical free paper, such as chlorine free processed versions. Papers without chemicals tend to be thicker in quality, lending themselves to brochures, catalogues and certificates.
Finally and quite importantly, more and more companies are turning to producing paper from ethical working woodlands. This means that the working conditions are excellent and the staff receive good pay/provisions. This may not directly affect the environment, but it does have an impact upon sustainability and ethics.
Printing Inks for greener offices
The final part to consider is the inks that you choose. Environmentally friendly inks are relatively common place now and have proven to be an useful alternative for businesses that want to be environmentally friendly. They are less complex to understand and work through than eco friendly paper, but again they do all have a variety of uses. One of the most popular choices, due to the vivid pigments created, is a Soy based ink. Created from Soybeans, the soy dramatically leaves a rich color that is perfect for magazines and brochures.
Another popular option is ink cured by UV light. This is not harmful to the environment as it cuts out the chemical curing process, leaving you with a sharp, crisp color. Although slightly more expensive, it is a great choice for printing documents such as letterheads and reports, due to the quality of sharp lettering. Be careful however, when using UV inks as they do not absorb in the same manner as their chemical counterparts, needing longer to dry and possibly a thicker, more resistant paper.
In conclusion there are many options for creating an environmentally friendly small business that still has the ability to print documents. A few small tweaks to your current printing strategies and you will save money and the planet at the same time.
Author Bio: Emma Hill is a small business writer and entrepreneur who writes for the Kwik Kopy Blog on small business topics.