Green printing practices are a must for any printing company. A typical facilities based printing company utilizes a lot of materials in its daily operations. Obviously the two elements that are consumed primarily are paper and ink, and both of them are produced through the use of resources that are both natural and synthesized.  In any case, it is no secret that the vast printing industry as a whole is a large consumer of the Earth’s resources and that historically there were many “legacy” printing practices that were very unfriendly to the environment. Fortunately the industry has come a long way. There are of course all kinds of printing operations from industrial firms who deal with packaging down to your local copy shop. Each however, can play an active role in how responsibly resources used in delivering their products and services are managed.

Green printing is not a complicated concept. It is fundamentally an approach and a set of practices aimed at ensuring that the resources used in delivering printing products are managed responsibly, and that the printing process itself does not leave the environment in a state that is worse than it was before. There are numerous specific and practical components to a Green Printing operation whether you are online printing company or not, but ultimately it means embracing a philosophy and being conscious of the Earth’s situation, conscious about the results of our actions, and in this case, of the effects that come with a business like printing materials every day. So, what do to do about it? Responsible printing companies like 4over4.com are embracing the Green Printing initiative, and there are a lot of dimensions to it.

Some of the important areas are: Recycling, Inks and chemicals, Paper and paper sourcing and Operational practices

Obviously if we’re using trees to produce the paper we need to do our job, we should take actions that reduce the number of trees needed to be cut down. So an important practice is the recycling of 100%of the paper scraps or unusable pieces of paper that result from the cutting process when a printed product is finished. You wouldn’t believe how much paper is wasted on these scraps and pieces. Recycling them and creating usable sheets of paper saves trees. We also recycle just about everything that we can including all wood from pallets, as well as all metal from plating materials.

Since waste is one of the ways in which pollution can reach the outside world, printing companies like 4over4.com use environmentally friendly supplies in our printing process so any waste that comes out of our printing process will not carry any substances that can damage the environment and the animal species it might get in contact with when released.  Historically petroleum-based ink, which is harmful to people and the environment is what has been used in the printing industry. Petroleum-based inks contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and as they dry, they give off toxic gases that may contain hazardous materials such as heavy metals or toxic stabilizers which contribute to air pollution. At 4OVER4, we use inks that are vegetable based and environmentally friendly. Mostly we use soy-based inks, which come from the soybean crop. Soybeans require little energy in the growing and harvesting process. For example, the crops do not need to be irrigated so they conserve water. Soy ink does not give off VOCs and in fact, soybean plants remove greenhouse gases. We also use vegetable-oil based, water-soluble washes for cleaning presses, which are free from VOC-producing petroleum solvents and can reduce VOCs by up to 90%.

Paper use is probably the most important component of Green Printing.  FSC certification was one of the most important steps we took as a company to embrace our Green Printing initiative. FSC Certification ensures that the paper we print on contains fiber from well-managed and responsibly harvested forests that meet strict environmental and socioeconomic standards.  Why is this so important? While many may speak of “recycled paper”, according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), virgin fibre makes up approximately two-thirds of the pulp that goes into paper made in North America. Virgin fiber is wood that is harvested for the first time. In other words, it has not been recycled.  Less than 6% of the fibers of printing and office papers come from recycling. This means that more than 90% of printing and office paper has no recycled content at all. Of course, we must use some virgin fibers in paper production. It can’t all be recycled. 4OVER4.COM partners with vendors certified as suppliers of paper that comes from responsibly managed forests.

Remember we talked about recycling scraps and unusable pieces of paper and carton?  Well, we also use cloths to clean our presses instead of paper towels, why? Because cloth can be re-used time and time again, while paper towels are one-use only. The right printing equipment can help too. By using color management practices we can reduce the emission of harmful vapors, as well as make ink use more efficient and as a result less ink is consumed in each print produced. There are also differences between printing presses. Efficient printing presses use less than half the electricity for the same job as other presses. At 4OVER4 we use some of the most efficient presses on the market.

So obviously there is a lot that goes into operating “Green” in a printing business , a lot more than that what we discussed here but embracing the philosophy and taking steps to integrate these practices is the first step. In today’s world it is of extreme urgency to be mindful of what we do in order to keep our world safe. Visit our green printing webpage to learn more about 4over4.com’s practices and contact us at support@4OVER4.COM if you would like more information.  A more comprehensive explanation of Green Printing practices can be found at

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