Printers and converters operate within an intensely competitive industry subject to strict legislation. Sustainability, energy and efficiency can therefore be a minefield of challenges and confusion. The PrintCity Alliance report explores frequently asked questions regarding this complex subject area and offers expert answers as well as further advice from industry leaders. The special report includes answers to the following questions and more:
- What is the printing Ecosystem?
- Why is waste so important?
- What is Sustainability?
- Why should we care about Greenhouse Gases (GHG)?
- How can Energy Efficiency be improved?
- What about air pollution, the ozone and VOCs?
- Kyoto 1990-2012. How well is our industry doing?
- How can I make a difference?
The report goes on to look at whether print and packaging is industry sustainable and states that it is both economically and environmentally beneficial to society. Paper and board have several sustainable qualities including the fact that they are renewable raw materials. These qualities combined with the increasing use of renewable and recyclable resources in inks such as soy, vegetable oil and starch, are helping printers minimize their environmental impact. The ongoing issue of carbon management and the associated carbon footprint is also addressed in this special report, but here some suggestions are offered to improve your carbon footprint as opposed to listing further challenges. A commonly accepted description from the ISA Research Report, UK 2007, is quoted as "The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product." The report lists the following actions that could improve your carbon footprint:
- Implement an environmental and energy management strategy.
Measure energy consumption (from fossil fuels) and identify areas for improvement.
3. Reduce energy consumption by improving efficiency of production technologies, their use and maintenance. This includes secondary use of hot air and water, and power generation.
4. Improve the energy efficiency of buildings and their services.
5. Reduce transportation energy used. Energy efficiency is also discussed in the report with an overview of technologies that could contribute to energy saving. The report states that Effective management of all energy (electricity, gas, propane, diesel, and petrol) combined with implementing appropriate technologies will reduce operating costs, improve working conditions and help protect the environment. Energy saving technologies range from blankets to ancillary equipment to direct motor drives. The report goes on to comment on how the printing industry is faring with all these sustainable challenges and finishes with environmental issues that allow companies to make a difference.