As a designer and an environmentalist I often find myself at an impasse. I love print materials, I love how tangible they are. It comes from a love of art and of all things creative and beautiful.
But. The reality is as much as I'd like to think that every single thing we, as designers, produce is kept and cherished, the reality is most things will end up in the landfill.
It's estimated that 23% of Americans don't even recycle.
So how do we do our part?
1. Increase Digital Materials
Instead of producing multiple print pieces per year, try increasing your reliance on social media and newsletters and make the stuff you print count. Instead of postcards 10 times a year what about a really beautiful piece 3 times a year? Use the funds to make yourself stand out!
2. Use Soy/Vegetable Based Inks
These inks have come a long way and have a much smaller environmental impact. These inks release less than 5% of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into the air and less ink is needed to print the same amount of paper when compared to petroleum inks.
3. Use Recycled Paper
I know, it's a no-brainier. But it can also save you money! There are some beautiful stocks of recycled paper that give your materials a really warm feeling. If you're printing less per year (see 1) you can also invest in some textured stock which will make your pieces really grab attention. I get excited just thinking about it. You don't have to go that far but trust me that it's beautiful.
4. It's All in Presentation
Foils make your materials instantly non-recyclable. If you're boxing something, go with something basic, it's what is inside that counts. Use 100% post-consumer waste uncoated box wherever possible to eliminate plastic. Pro-tip: uncoated cardboard is even compostable. Make the earth smile.
5. Use it in Your Marketing Campaigns
The environment might be the biggest crisis of our time. Millions of consumers are looking for ways to decrease their imprint. Lucky for you - utilizing green methods in your campaigns can be a huge selling point. Make sure to note on materials what steps you've taken.
By Emily Susan Gaylord, Creative Director
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