By: Mark Sullivan, Presstek Product Manager for Digital Printing

Some recent market surveys indicate that printers believe that “green” printing will inherently be more expensive to produce. However, our customers continually tell us that their Presstek DI digital offset presses are helping them become more green by creating less toxins and waste, while providing high quality and fast turnaround printing that helps them be more profitable.

To document the environmental and economic advantages of printing with Presstek DI presses, Presstek has compiled research from a range of well-respected industry sources including, RIT’s Printing Industry Center and the International Confederation for Printing and Allied Industries (INTERGRAF). The results have been published in whitepaper entitled, Growing Your Business by Going Green. The data confirms that going ‘green’ is good for business.

To read the complete study, you can download your own copy of Growing Your Business by Going Green.  Meanwhile, here are some excerpts that I thought might be interesting to share.

Most of us have been recycling paper and other waste for years. But today, being environmentally conscious goes far beyond that. Green initiatives can benefit your business by:

  • Discovering new ways to increase operational efficiencies
  • Differentiating from the competition
  • Delivering incremental business with new and existing clients
  • Reducing paper waste
  • Reducing toxic emissions
  • Relieving regulatory burdens

Print Buyer Demand

There is a growing demand from print buyers who are looking for print produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. And, they are looking for printers to do more than simply print on recycled paper stock.  Often, this is in response to corporate sustainability mandates.  Printers who cannot meet these emerging requirements will face a difficult, if not impossible, task in gaining business from these firms. This can translate in to lost business.

Choosing for Today and the Future

This all comes at a time when many printers are rethinking the nature of the print business and revisiting their core equipment base.  Print service providers have lots of choices beyond replacing one conventional offset press with another when a press has reached the end of its useful life or adding one more of the same when more capacity is required.  Some of the equipment options include Presstek DI® digital offset presses, inkjet, and toner-based digital printing. The goal when making these choices should be solutions that not only have a more sustainable environmental footprint, but also help to streamline the production cycle, uses fewer materials and produce less waste.  At the same time, printers need to ensure improved profitability, quick turnaround and high quality. 

The move toward environmentally friendly printing is the latest iteration of the ongoing struggle to drive inefficiency out of the printing process.

Digital Workflow Efficiency

Another aspect of increasing efficiency while reducing environmental impact is the importance of seamlessly integrating that core equipment into a digital workflow; linking together all aspects of business and production operations so that there is as little human intervention as possible.  This can have an environmental impact by reducing waste due to errors, as well as having a significant impact on the bottom line through improved efficiency and productivity.

Chemistry-free On-press Plate Imaging

Chemistry-free platemaking is an obvious place to reduce environmental impact.  Chemistry-based platemaking is widely acknowledged as a major source of VOCs and waste within the printing process. For example, industry data compiled by J Zarwan Partners indicates that worldwide more than 31 million gallons of chemistry are used to process printing plates every year. Plus, chemistry-based platemaking requires water for plate processing, introducing another source of water-based toxins and waste. This method of platemaking also takes an economic toll with associated costs for the purchasing, storage, disposal and reporting of chemistry and its related wastes.

Presstek DI presses image chemistry-free plates directly on press.  This eliminates off-line platemaking while lowering overhead and boosting productivity via streamlined workflow and better utilization of staff.  It also reduces waste and ensures consistent high quality by imaging plates on-press, in precise register.

Waterless Printing: Better Quality and Less Waste

Another environmental aspect of the DI press is its waterless operation. Conventional offset printing presses use significant amounts of chemistry and water for the press dampening system. The dampening system uses fountain solution, which produce VOCs. Presstek’s DI waterless press design does not use a dampening system, which eliminates the need for both fountain solution and water. This means that dot gain is reduced, screen rulings of 300 lpi and FM (stochastic) screening are easily produced, color is more consistent and the challenge of managing ink/water balance issues are eliminated. In fact, recent testing determined that waterless printing alone reduces VOCs by 75 percent compared to conventional printing environments.  In addition, there is no water required to prepare the plates for printing, as required in offline platemaking.

This is important because water use is a growing international environmental issue, and a major concern for printers, particularly those in areas where water is scarce, expensive, or highly regulated. The August 2006 United Nations Water Thematic Issues report, Coping with the Scarcity of Water, speaks to the importance of maintaining and preserving our water supply and projects that 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025 if water use continues at its current rate.  Food for thought as you examine your own environmental footprint.

Download Additional Information

These are just a few of the issues addressed in Growing Your Business by Going Green.  It also discusses issues associated with paper, deinking of printed matter, the impact of inks and toners, and includes a useful glossary of terms.  We hope you will take a few moments to download the paper and review it.  After all, it is possible to implement solutions that offer both environmental and economic benefits for your business.