Sustainability in the print industry is important, but the print industry does not have a reputation for this due to its high usage of paper, electricity and petroleum.  However, this is changing.  To keep up with the desire for digitalisation, the print industry is finding more interesting and more eco-friendly ways to operate.


Using a multifunction printer, or MFP, is an instant way of saving time, space and money.  MFPs allow users to print, copy/scan and, in some cases, fax.  Work can be scanned into the machine and printed instantly, saving the need to use a computer.


The increase in popularity of e-publishing means that the print industry is being forced to rethink how it operates.  Books must be up-to-date, and there is no room for error.  Printing on demand is one way that the print industry can combat this, and also be sustainable.  Printing on demand ensures that there is no surplus inventory, and less electricity used.  Using less electricity means that there is less of a carbon footprint, and bills will be decreased.  Something else that can be done to decrease carbon footprints is turning digital printing machines off when they are not being used.



Sourcing raw materials from sustainable producers is an important way of being sustainable within the print industry.  Paper is not the only product that can be recycled: ink, toners, batteries and electronics can be, too.  Ink and toner cartridges can be refilled or remastered instead of purchasing new cartridges; this also saves on the cost of new cartridges, which is most of what the cost of them is. Vegetable oil-based and soil-based inks are also non-toxic for both the environment and employees, and naturally low in volatile organic compounds.  They also produce fewer emissions.


Paper accounts for the largest amount of waste within the printing industry.  Ensure that all of the paper purchased is from sustainable forests, or recycled.   Any recycled paper that is purchased should not be bleached using harmful chlorine.  Printing documents double-sided further saves on waste paper: many multifunction printers nowadays offer this function.  If they do not, it is possible to print all odd pages first, turn the paper over, then print even numbers.


Sheets of paper are not the only papers that can be recycled: paper fibres and any other waste that comes with the paper can be recycled, and any return copies of publications can be recycled too.


Digital printing makes printing easier and more accessible than ever, and there is far less waste than its counterpart, offset printing.  Digital printing allows for images to be created on a computer or tablet, then be instantly sent to the printer when it is ready.  There is more control over the amount that is printed, and there is no need for corporeal versions of the image or document to exist.  This makes designing and printing more accessible than ever.


Sustainability in the print industry is becoming increasingly important for customers, who want work done efficiently whilst still being eco-friendly.  This increase in sustainability is important for an industry such as the print industry, which desperately needs to change its reputation for unsustainability in order to keep up with modern e-publishing.


Managed print services are a way for companies to track their printer usage.  Managed print services conduct an assessment of printer usage, then use this to help to optimise print output, look at ways to decrease carbon footprints whilst increasing productivity, and turn paper-based services into digital ones.


Every industry is becoming increasingly aware of sustainability and of its carbon footprint.  It is therefore important for an industry such as the print industry to change its reputation to keep its loyal customers and entice new ones.  Small changes to the way that businesses are run – such as the ones mentioned above –  can make a huge impact on its reputation, its profits and its impact on the environment.


Supporting the environment means that everyone wins.  Customers get peace of mind, knowing that the company they are working with is sustainable, and businesses can go to bed at night with a clear conscience, knowing that they’re not the bloodthirsty corporation that people dread.