Choosing a paper for your next printing project can have a significant impact on the environment as well as your budget. Fortunately there are many choices available today not only for choosing paper but for choosing a printing process that can be both green and cost effective.
Lithography (traditional offset printing), by far the most common type of printing, is based on the principal that oil (ink) and water don’t mix. Therefore, all offset inks are oil based, some come from vegetable oil others from petroleum.
Naturally, choosing vegetable based ink is better for our environment than choosing the more common petroleum based ink. For larger press sheets and longer runs, lithography can also be the most cost effective printing technique available.
Water based inks are the most environmentally friendly inks available. They do not use oil and do not require solvents to clean. The engraving process is the only printing technique that can use water-based ink. This makes engraving the most environmentally friendly way of putting ink on paper and although it is not quite as economical as lithography it can be designed in a way to keep costs down.
Of course, the most environmentally friendly printing method available is when no ink is used whatsoever. The only two choices for this are to emboss a message (changing the shape of the paper) or to Die-Cut the paper (cut paper away).