Printed materials are a fact of life if you’re running a crafty biz. You need business cards and promotional materials, and there is paperwork like invoices and price sheets that just need to be printed out sometimes. As hard as we try to do everything electronically, from time to time hard copies are just unavoidable.
From the paper and ink to the printer itself, printing can have a really big impact. Here are a few resources to help your printed materials have a lighter impact.
If you’re wanting printing options for green marketing, I’ve had really great experiences with Greener Printer and Bluegrass Print (formerly Mondo Print). The latter isn’t specifically a green printing company, but they offer eco-friendly printing options at no extra charge. Just remember to choose the Go Green Paper when you’re placing an order!
Printing at home is a little bit trickier. The easiest way to reduce the impact when you’re home printing is by picking up some 100% recycled paper.
There are a few companies making “green” home printers (the machines themselves), but they’re not quite what I wish they were. The one I have is the Canon MP560, and it’s a great printer!
UPDATE: I originally wrote this post in 2010, and in 2015, my Canon MP560 is still kicking. It is a little bit buggy sometimes, but this sucker has held up for over five years of heavy use. Between my husband’s poetry books and my cookbooks and marketing materials, we print on a daily basis.
Since buying my own printer, inks have come a long way. I wrote about making printing a little bit better at Crafting a Green World in a different context, but some of those ideas fit here.There are companies offering cartridges with low-impact inks, and if you can find one that’s compatible with your printer, this is definitely the best choice.
Whether you’re able to use low-impact ink or not, you can also be mindful about disposing of your ink cartridges. Earth911 is a good place for finding all kinds of recycling resources in your area, including printer ink recycling. When you recycle your cartridges, they can be manufactured into new cartridges or other products. That means fewer printer cartridges ending up in landfills and less chance of the old ink from the cartridges contaminating groundwater and soil.
How do you guys make sure your printed materials are as low-impact as possible?