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While the phrase “reduce, reuse, and recycle” has been a familiar motto for many years, businesses haven’t always been the first to adopt an eco-friendly philosophy. But more and more companies are thinking seriously about how their day-to-day business practices impact the environment. In fact, thinking sustainably makes good business sense. According to Forbes, Millennial workers are willing to work for less pay for the opportunity to work for an eco-friendly company. Businesses that want to attract talent and remain competitive are thinking of new ways to show that they are environmentally conscious.

The transition to digital forms of business communication has greatly reduced the amount of trash that organizations produce, but there are still many ways in which businesses perpetuate wasteful habits. The next generation of workers is looking for more than just a recycling bin in the lunchroom.

It could seem ironic that a printing company would be concerned with being eco-friendly, but the opposite is actually true. While we love the fresh smell of a blank ream of paper, we are committed to being good stewards to our community – and that includes our global community, too!

The good news: It’s easy to go earth-friendly with your print & promo by following the tips below.

ECO-FRIENDLY PRINTING

While going “paperless” is a big trend in many offices, there are still some solid reasons to stick with paper. Particularly with sensitive or personal information, digital forms of communication can be susceptible to security breaches. Plus, there are hundreds of studies proving that you are more likely to remember something if you physically write it down. And there’s just something special about receiving a handwritten note.

When you’re considering your next print-project, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure your printer uses recycled paper. At Print Resources, our standard stocks are at least 30% recycled content.
  • Ask your printer if they recycle paper trimmings. When the ink/color runs all the way to the edge of a printed piece of paper it’s known as a “bleed”. This is achieved by printing larger than the finished size and then cutting the edge. This keeps your beautiful design from looking like a kindergartner was learning to cut along the lines. We keep large recycling bins next to the paper cutters to ensure that all the waste is recycled.
  • Keep an Eco-Friendly Stock Book handy when designing your next piece. We have a sample book dedicated to eco-friendly stocks so you can be both creative AND eco-conscious! (Need one for your desk? Click here and we’ll send one your way!)

ECO-FRIENDLY SIGNAGE

Banners, signs, and posters are essential for wayfinding in offices and at events. But many of the materials used for these purposes are made to last well into the future. After all – you don’t want that beautiful festival signage to melt in the pop-up shower that came out of nowhere.

There are still plenty of ways you can ensure that your large-format printing is visually impactful without negatively impacting the environment:

  • Go digital. For signage that changes regularly, consider using digital displays as opposed to banner materials that cannot be recycled. 
  • Upcycle your banner materials. Organizations like People for Urban Progress can take large quantities of banner material and turn it into one-of-a-kind keepsakes for your employees or customers! For smaller quantities, check out this easy, no-sew tutorial to turn your banner into a bag. Vinyl material is also great for keeping blankets dry at a summer concert!
  • Replace the banner, not the whole stand. The graphics in pop-up banner stands can often be replaced without tossing the large, metal base. Plus – you can likely replace the graphics at a much lower cost than replacing the entire unit.  
  • For rigid signs, ask about Falconboard®. This new alternative to foamcore is lightweight enough to hang anywhere but rigid enough to hold it’s shape. Bonus – it’s 100% recyclable!
Wood Air Plant Holder

ECO-FRIENDLY PROMO

When is the last time you received a gift? Even the smallest gift can feel pretty great, which is why so many companies understand the value of giving products imprinted with their logo. It’s a no brainer when you consider that 85% of promotional product recipients remember the advertiser

While the promotional product industry can be a big offender when it comes to being earth-friendly, you can still cash in on the value of corporate giving without hurting the environment.

  • Avoid one-time-use giveaways. Drinkware, pens, and cloth shopping bags can all be reused and will likely last far beyond the moment you give it to a customer or prospect. As an added bonus, your brand will be seen more times than you can count!
  • Say no to plastic. From biodegradable fabrics to backpacks made from recycled water bottles, there are plenty of products that are made from eco-friendly or recycled materials. While these products may come with a slightly higher price-tag, your children’s children will thank you for spending a little bit extra to keep their earth in tip-top shape. We love the Eco-Smart line of products as an easy place to start shopping. 
  • Go local. Products that are handmade are much more likely to be made of eco-friendly materials. Clay, paper, wood, and food gifts are all compost friendly! One of our favorite promo suppliers is Indy-based Batch, who works with local artists to source corporate logo items. Or, ask your staff if they have a friend or family member who can create something unique for your brand.
  • Stick to the old standby: Notebooks! Notebooks can be used over-and-over again, and versions with paper covers that can easily tuck into a purse or bag are incredibly popular. Just be sure to avoid plastic covers. We love MoleskineⓇ Notebooks customized with your logo!

ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING

One of our most popular services is to combine our print & promo capabilities into snazzy packages that can be delivered straight to a client or prospects door. Direct Mail is actually a huge business – just ask Amazon, StitchFix, and BlueApron. Print Resources clients use direct mail to enhance their prospecting and client appreciation strategies.

The recyclable, corrugated box has been the go-to shipping packaging for many years, but the filler that keeps your products safe from breakage isn’t always eco-friendly. Luckily, there are some easy alternatives to ensure your packages are earth-friendly both outside and inside:

  • Avoid foam, plastic pillows, and bubble wrap. Thin plastic materials, like the standard grocery bag, can be incredibly harmful to wildlife – particularly in oceans, rivers, lakes, and forests. Plastic bags have done so much damage that some states have banned them altogether. While this thin type of plastic is typically not allowed in your curbside recycling, most grocery stores offer free plastic recycling services. Just remember to save any clean plastic bags/materials and drop them off on your next grocery run. 
  • Enhance your packaging with crinkle paper. Our go-to alternative to foam or plastic box filler is crinkle paper. Crinkle paper is made from recycled material and comes in a variety of colors to match your brand. It also makes the unboxing experience even more fun for the recipient!
  • Recycle shipping boxes into free packaging material! Print Resources recently added an HSM Profipack 425 Cardboard Shredder to our equipment collection. This handy machine allows us to turn used shipping boxes into packing material. For a company that ships and receives thousands of boxes every day, turning those boxes into packaging filler has an exponential impact on the amount of waste we keep out of the recycling bins!

Many technological advancements – even within the last decade –  have made it possible for businesses to greatly reduce the amount of print, promo, and packaging that impacts our environment. But there is still much we can do to ensure that our organizations are being as eco-friendly as possible. With a few small shifts in our thinking, we can all ensure that tomorrow’s environment is even better than today.

Is your company looking for eco-friendly ways to promote your business through print & promo? Say, “Hi!” Our team is happy to help!