Support is growing around the world among consumers and investors for going green. When it comes to communications, eco-friendly print is gaining wider adoption. It can even be a more sustainable solution than distributing email newsletters across the internet. Here are key environmentally friendly printing concepts to keep in mind if you want to make your marketing more socially responsible.
One of the primary concepts of going green is recycling. The idea of reusing materials over and over helps reduce waste and manufacturing costs. Over 70 million tons of paper are produced each year by the U.S. pulp and paper industry. Today paper is one of the most recycled products on earth, as nearly 70 percent is reused.
When evaluating the environmental benefits of digital devices vs print recycling, it’s important to remember that email is largely delivered through huge data centers. These facilities are commonly powered by traditional electric utilities that generate energy from fossil fuels.
Reforesting by the paper industry is the sustainable practice of replanting trees to replace those cut down for commercial use. Protecting forests is socially responsible since trees balance the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and oxygen. In that sense, reforestation counters the negative effects of deforestation.
One way for the print industry to embrace more environmentally-friendly printing is to use more sustainable raw materials. Paper can be made from alternative sources such a lightweight wood fiber called nanocellulose. Chemical-free paper is another more sustainable choice.
The use of direct mail can still be effective at reaching a target market geographically. Sending postcards can be a more eco-friendly option since they are usually smaller and more lightweight than regular letters and amount to less waste. If you do send packages in the mail that include return envelopes, consider reusable envelopes or those without plastic windows.
Printing cards on demand will reduce waste and increase the odds that the cards will get into the right hands. Instead of printing thousands of cards that might end up in storage or a landfill, limiting print runs as you need cards leads to more efficient distribution. By keeping your marketing list updated, you will reduce waste that occurs when a marketer continues to send direct mail to outdated addresses.
The other dimension to print sustainability is to use eco-friendly inks. Some inks contain toxins from petrochemicals, whereas vegetable-based inks are safe and more sustainable.
The growth in emails along with email fatigue are reasons to think about alternatives to email newsletters. Many people view email from marketers to be spam they don’t have time to read. Even without spam, the internet is flooded with constant data transmission from data centers that generate the same type of emissions as the aviation industry. The server farm impact of big data centers currently accounts for 3 percent of global electricity and an estimated 2 percent of greenhouse emissions.
Moving toward eco-friendly print campaigns can help your business reputation as more and more people demand sustainable solutions in business. Cutting waste and using recycled materials are two of the easiest ways to promote your business as eco-friendly. Avoiding toxic chemicals and using vegetable-based print adds to your green credibility. Ultimately, you should routinely update your marketing lists for maximum marketing efficiency and keeping waste to a minimum.