Printing with the Earth in mind. How does the choice of raw materials affect the environmental performance of printing?   

Sustainable production is becoming an integral part of the printing industry’s development. Choosing eco-friendly raw materials and technologies, reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy, and caring for the environment are key steps that allow printing companies to operate according to sustainable values.

Paper – heart of printing, heart of ecology 

Paper has always been one of the fundamental raw materials in the printing industry, but now its use has also become one of the biggest environmental challenges. Traditionally, paper was produced from cutting down trees, which put a heavy burden on the environment. Today, however, more and more companies are switching to recycled or forest-origin certified (FSC, PEFC) paper, which helps reduce the felling of trees and provides a more sustainable way of production. Choosing eco-friendly paper not only reduces the pressure on the environment, but also meets the expectations of increasingly eco-conscious customers, who more often prefer products with a low environmental impact.  

Quad’s expert recommendation: certifications are a must! They guarantee that the wood used to make the paper comes from well-managed forests or from recycled or other controlled sources. In 2022, we were able to increase the number of production orders using such raw material sources by more than 30% compared to 2021. 

Green technologies 

A crucial element affecting the sustainability of production in the printing industry is not only the choice of eco-friendly raw materials, but also… technology. In recent years, the printing industry has been developing innovative technologies to reduce the use of plastic and replace it with biodegradable alternatives. This means that printing companies are more frequently using biodegradable packaging made from materials such as paper, cardboard and bioplastics, which decompose much faster in the natural environment than conventional plastics. Consequently, green technologies within the printing industry are driving the shift towards production processes that are both sustainable and eco-friendly. 

Quad experts’ recommendation: wrap in paper! Let’s start paying attention to how our products and semi-finished products are packaged. Here, too, we should aim to eliminate plastic and upcycle as much material as possible. With the Paper Wrap solution for packaging shipments, in 2003 at Quad we produced more than 1.7 million paper bags instead of plastic bags for our customers. 

Recycled raw materials 

Reducing consumption and recycling all waste is an important part of the manufacturing process.  Efforts should be made to recycle or recover as much of the generated waste as possible. More and more printing companies are choosing to use recycled paper, which is made from recycled paper waste and has less negative impact on the environment. By using recycled raw materials, the printing industry can reduce its demand for natural resources and reduce its negative impact on the environment, while promoting a culture of recycling and a closed-loop economy. 

Quad’s expert recommendation: recycling is easy! For example, we use large-format sheets from machine start-ups as pads and spacers when stacking products on pallets for transport. In 2023, we reused, as much as 470 tons of waste paper. 


Share this article