#COP26GLASGOW – Sustainable Large Format Printing: Considerations

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#COP26 Is Underway...

…and we are all thinking about what we could do to improve or contribute to positively to the “Global Emergency”.  Here at Matic Media we’re thinking about the challenges in the manufacture and disposal of display graphics after use and sustainably supplying goods and services.

 

Why Is Carbon-Offsetting Important?

"Carbon offsetting allows people who do pollute to reduce the impact of that by paying someone else not to pollute. For example, I fly to Sydney for a holiday and produce five-and-a-half tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming."

Each of the issues below have their own problems associated with them.  It does not make sustainable print buying impossible but it was suggested that “Carbon Offsetting” may be a legitimised way of avoiding some of these issues and might be the minimum we could do.

Things to think about when offering greener display graphics:

  1. Where did the material came from (Recycled Raw Material)?
  2. Could a more sustainable product be used?
  3. Can it be recycled?
  4. Who will recycle the product for you?
  5. Carbon-Offsetting

Where Did The Material Come From (Recycled Raw Material)?

Some of the products we print to come from products that have been recycled and remanufactured into materials that can be printed.  This might include recycled plastics or paper and card pump to make a product that have come from waste. 

Some PVC Banner alternatives come into this category.  These do not look or feel like PVC banner and you should get a sample before selling it to your client.  It can be welded and sewn like PVC Banner.

Could a More Sustainable Product Be Used?

PVC, throughout its lifecycle, is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. The PVC lifecycle — its production, use, and disposal — results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals.  There are alternative to using PVC but while there is still an appetite to consume these products it will be used.  There are also methods of recycling but they are specialist.

Interior graphics could be printed to paper/carboard based products which can be cut, folded and shaped to equally impressive results as other more traditional materials (PVC).

Can the Products You Buy Be Recycled?

Most materials can be recycled.  One of the reasons they are not recycled is because of the difficulty in the process and some materials can only be processed by specialist (e.g. PVC, Aluminium Composite Board) and if it is cost prohibitive, it will not take place.

Many of our printed matter could have kerbside recycling markings added to them.  This is important because we need the recycling service to easily identify the product and sort it appropriately.

Who Will Actually Recycle The Product For You?

If you have branded a hotel or exhibition center with your signage and display graphics and you have done your due diligence: used recycled materials, used products that can be recycled.  What happens now?

Where are your used graphics going to go?  Do you actually know they are going to be recycled or are they:

  • Too specialised to send to a local recycling plant – e.g Aluinium composite Board (ACM, Dibond, Hoarding board)
  • Too difficult to identify – Some plastics look very similar
  • Contaminated – laminated with PVC laminate on a cardboard panel defeats the purpose.

Carbon-Offsetting

One of our suppliers is now offering Carbon-Offsetting.  This is a levy that is paid per 100 KG.  Here is a summary:

“Carbon offset projects provide you with an immediate and cost effective way to reduce your company’s carbon emissions and support essential projects that would not otherwise happen.”

Read more here: https://www.antalis.co.uk/business/home/corporate-social-responsibility/product-offer/carbon-offset.html

It’s Not Impossible…

But we are seeing a number of chain-of-custody issues around recycled and recyclable products.  It seems almost shameful to go to the efforts above to find that your goods will go into landfill because there is no appetite or facility to sort and process the product that can be recycled.

We are using several new products within our business, but we already have been using many products for many years that have a lower environmental footprint than others.  If you would like to know more about carbon-offsetting or the range of product that can reduce a carbon footprint please email, chat (bottom right) or call us on 0330 380 0172

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