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Printing Green

October 6, 2008

In order to view some of my designs to scale to better critique them, I’ve been researching printers who use low/zero VOC inks and either recycled paper or paper made from sustainable sources such as managed forests.

I contacted David Hoban at Print Net, the internet resource of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, with my questions. David provided me with details for a couple of companies that have introduced low/zero VOC printing inks and use recycled paper or paper made from virgin pulp sourced from timber industry off-cuts. He also made me aware of the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council should I require further research into sustainable paper products. Thanks for your help David!

Sadly, I’ve only been able to find a couple of companies in Australia, which have implemented green processes and/or use the type of inks I’m looking for. Hopefully with time, they will become the rule rather than the exception.

Printed Greener boasts the use of recycled content and mixed content paper (ie: some recycled and some virgin pulp content). They recommend choosing an eco-friendly paper stock, which is manufactured without chlorine bleaching. “Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) is better, but Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Process Chlorine Free (PCF) for recycled paper is best.” They also offer a couple of non/low PVC alternatives for large format banners (Bioflex™ Biodegradable Banner and Evergreen Jet 210 Banner).

98% of all inks used at APMG Green in Victoria are vegetable-based using soy or linseed oil and are Isopropyl-free. This means no nasty off-gassing VOCs!

Flash Photobition use corn-based solvent BioVu™ inks, which are biodegradable. They have also produced a couple of banner substrates including their BIOflex™ and Ecotex™ biodegradable sign material.

So, what does that mean for my immediate printing needs? It means I can benefit from some ‘green’ initiatives as these companies have created or use several products or aspects of products that are safer for the environment than those currently being used by 99% of the Australian printing industry. It really is only the beginning of what will be a monumental change over time. So, my design proofs won’t be 100% green, but hopefully my end-products will!

Last week I also had the chance to catch up with Kay Faulkner in my studio. Over coffee we discussed my designs and her keen eye for weave construction helped me look at the textile hangings in a different light, which was really helpful.

More design development ensued and will continue this coming week along with a studio shoot of ‘the designer in action’ by Troy Hansen. See you Thursday Troy!

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