Considering the ever-increasing popularity of the concept of environmental awareness across all commercial sectors, those in the printing industry are increasingly being forced to adopt strategies aimed at reducing the negative environmental impact of their printing-related activities.
Adoption of the mentioned strategies is all the more important for graphic designers whose main business activity involves the use of computers and the internet for extended durations. As such, their main business activity contributes to environmental degradation through high energy consumption and through the production of various waste products. Below is a discussion on two of the mentioned strategies.
In a large number of cases, graphic designers are forced to use petroleum-based printing inks. These are not the most eco-friendly of printing supplies but their use is often associated with invaluable advantages such as faster press speeds. As such, graphic designers forced to make do with petroleum-based printing inks should adopt ink recycling as a strategy for an eco-friendly business practice.
Recycling of waste-ink from the printing process in graphic design is often done by having waste-inks of different colours blended together so as to produce a darker colour that is suitable for re-use. This is often done at ink recycling service shops. Recycling services may also be available from the product (printer) manufacturer in certain cases.
The Use Of Alternative Inks
Graphic designers can also reduce the environmental impact of their business activities by adopting the use of alternative printing inks to replace their petroleum-based counterparts. Using alternative printing inks is better for the environment because these inks are free of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in their petroleum-based cousins.
There are several alternative types of ink available at the disposal of a graphic designer. These include, but they are not limited to the following;
- Electron Beam Curable inks: These printing inks are solvent-free, making them eco-friendly. EBC inks will only cure upon exposure to light, which would allow a graphic designer to leave the ink in printing foundations for longer. There's, therefore, a significant reduction in the quantity of wasted ink at the end of the printing process. However, there are concerns about the effects of long-term exposure to electron beam curable inks
- Water-Based alternatives: A water-based ink is one in which water is used as the solvent solution instead of petroleum. Water-based printing inks are advantageous because there are no concerns about long-term exposure to these inks. Graphic designers who choose water-based inks as their preferred alternative don't have to use specialized equipment to control air pollution during the printing process.