Green Printing - Saving Grace for Planet Earth

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Environmental degradation is no new issue that we are facing today. Increasing pollution and use of un-recyclable products is fast creating a hazardous situation for the planet. Awareness programmes and non-profit organizations are working hard to spread the cause of environment in the masses. However, it is interesting to note that the methods used for promotion can in itself contribute significantly to environmental degradation. The reason being, excessive use of pamphlets or printed papers for distribution. In fact, the eco-advocacy group, Environmental Defense, estimates that producing one ton of virgin uncoated paper - which accounts for 90 percent of the United States' printing and writing paper - requires three tons of wood, 19,075 gallons of water, and generates 2,278 pounds of solid waste. Besides, most of the white papers are bleached through a chlorination process thus releasing harmful chemicals and pollutants into the water.

Advanced researches have successfully proved that the printing industry is the single largest polluter and the third largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world after automobiles and steel manufacturing. It is estimated that printers consume trillions of gallons of water, which again demands treatment on account of its toxin content. Use of adhesives and foils further render the final product un-recyclable. Imagine a situation where millions of such products are being manufactured everyday, which would ultimately end up in a landfill! These volatile products can easily contaminate groundwater, soil, and air (when evaporated) consequently stimulating the occurrence of fatal diseases like cancer, chronic liver and heart malfunctioning.

The concept of green printing is thus an offshoot of increasing environmental degradation. The concept holds a lot of promise as the end product created is recyclable. Since the common printing process is hazardous in itself, steps are taken by green printing firms to use such materials that would not spur the creation of toxins. For instance, the printing paper should be derived from 100 per cent post-consumer waste, processed chlorine free, uncoated, Forest Stewardship Council certified, and manufactured using renewable energy sources like solar power or wind. Vegetable-based ink or soy ink should be used for printing. Dye sublimation is another printing process, vastly used by non-profit organizations these days. The process uses petroleum and other volatile organic compounds instead of solvent-based inks. Digital printing is another alternative towards a more sustainable approach.

Green printing processes can thus help promote the cause of the environment and make your planet look green and beautiful. So help spreading awareness towards eco-friendly printing and save your home from further degradation.

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Suzanne Macguire has 1 articles online

Suzanne Macguire is a marketing professional, currently engaged in encouraging eco-friendly printing solutions.

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Green Printing - Saving Grace for Planet Earth

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This article was published on 2010/04/04