CHOOSING A PRINTER
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A LITHO PRINTER
You can massively reduce your carbon emissions as well as your energy, water, waste and solvent use by choosing a printer from Lovely as a Tree.
When choosing a printer, look for:
- EMAS, ISO14001, FSC, Greenmark or Green Dragon certification* (see glossary)
- Waterless or low-alcohol
- A local printer
- Do they measure their carbon footprint?**
- Do they use renewable energy?
- Do they have a press that can run enough inks for your job in one press pass? This avoids multiple passes involving more ‘make-ready’ waste, more clearing up, more energy and more chemicals
- Do they use 100% vegetable-oil based inks?
You could also ask:
* Please note that environmental performance will vary even amongst printers with the same environmental accreditations due to the fact that some have been working at reducing their environmental impact for longer and will have made more progress.
** Be aware that carbon neutral status is not always a good indication of environmental performance. There is currently no regulation in this area and so carbon neutral status can simply be bought through offsetting schemes. Please ask your printer and paper suppliers what they have done to reduce their carbon footprint.
See our Printfinder for a comprehensive list of environmentally accredited printers.
What is it?
Waterless printing is basically sheet-fed litho printing using different printing plates and a method of transferring the image to the paper without using water.
Removing water from the process means that you also eliminate the problem of achieving the correct balance of ink and water on press. It also eliminates the need for IPA (see glossary).
Benefits of Waterless Printing:
- Improved colour consistency throughout the press run
- Greater colour saturation
- Lower dot gain, therefore higher screen rulings can be used and more detail can be printed
- Better results on uncoated paper than with conventional litho printing
- Faster make-ready time meaning less paper and ink is wasted
- Improved registration
- No VOCs (see glossary)
- Conserves water
- More environmentally friendly
Most benefit gained when printing:
- Flat colours
- Long print runs
- On uncoated stocks
- Corporate identity work (as colour consistency can be maintained across different stocks)
- Fine and very detailed print
- It can be more expensive than conventional litho printing
- Some say that the same effects can be achieved by stochastic printing
- Others say that clients will not notice the difference and that conventional printing is good enough
There are only a handful of waterless printers in the UK, probably due to the cost of setting up and to the lack of anyone able to teach the waterless process in this country. See our Printfinder to locate your nearest waterless printer.
EMAS is the highest standard that can be attained, followed by ISO14001.
ISO14001 is the next best, although standards vary under this scheme due to the emphasis on continual improvement.
FSC is about tracking the fibre ONLY and is NOT about environmental standards within the factory.
Greenmark is a scheme for smaller companies who lack the resources to undertake ISO14001.
Green Dragon is a 5 step scheme for smaller companies based in Wales. Level 5 is said to be a higher standard than ISO14001.