Eco Friendly Printing
What makes InviteSite’s printing practices eco friendly?
You may have discovered InviteSite because you want all aspects of your eco friendly holiday celebrations to reflect your desire to tread lightly. When it comes to holiday cards, using 100% consumer recycled papers and tree free papers is a great start.
But choosing materials is only the first step; printing methods are, of course, also to be considered. Fortunately, InviteSite specializes in eco friendly printing.
As far as we are concerned, the chemicals and inks inherent in the printing business represent the dirty side of the industry. At InviteSite, though, we aim to minimize our environmental impact by relying on eco friendly printing processes that mitigate our ecological footprint. By reducing or eliminating the need for toxic inks, we are doing our part to clean up what used to be a much dirtier industry.
All inks are made up of two basic ingredients: pigment and carrier (almost always oil). For centuries, the best inks have been made out of oils of various types, with the best being made in the 20th century from petroleum based oil. Decades ago the soy revolution began, though we tried to print with these new products twenty years ago and could not make them meet our high standards.
Instead, InviteSite uses quality vegetable-based inks. Recent controversy over the use of soy in just about everything, including ink, certainly suggests that we have been on the right track. Even though soy ink has been greatly improved (and is still a more sound choice than petro-based ink), we have moved on to vegetable-based (linseed oil) inks, which contain more renewable ingredients, and have greatly reduced VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), to the great relief of anyone who enjoys breathing (especially press operators).
Clean-Up: Other chemicals used in printing, specifically the cleaners, have improved as well. When we started in the printing industry we used gasoline, kerosene, acetone, and just about everything else with a foul odor. All this has changed, obviously, but the ink itself still has the largest environmental impact. When the Los Angeles Times switched to soy-based ink, for example, they reduced their VOC emissions by 200 tons per year and won an air quality award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Eco friendly printing does make a difference!
Letterpress Printing: All of our holiday cards are decoratively printed by letterpress. We like to point out the happy coincidence that the most beautiful form of printing also happens to be the most eco friendly printing process, too.
The machines we use are 100 years old and still running strong. They are slower than modern machines, yet are efficient and use relatively little electricity. Because the paper is hand-fed into these machines, there is almost no paper waste, unlike automatically-fed offset, and digital, presses. The roller and inking mechanisms are simple and straightforward, meaning that cleaning the press has about ten per cent the environmental impact of cleaning a traditional offset press.
Because the making of letterpress plates is time consuming, and because of the care taken in feeding a letterpress, letterpress is more expensive than our other forms of printing, so it's not for everyone. If your budget permits it, though, consider the “happy coincidence” and rest assured that you are choosing the eco friendly printing option.