Greener Graphics Simplified
Graphics manufacturers are no strangers to sustainability. A recent survey of print service providers indicates that almost 50 percent have taken steps to produce wide-format graphics in a more environmentally friendly way.
The road to becoming more sustainable isn't without its bumps, however. New products can require changes in manufacturing. Sometimes they're more expensive or the quality isn't comparable to traditional materials. Yet it's clear that demand is growing: A 2011 survey of wide-format customers conducted by InfoTrends found that 56 percent prefer "greener" materials, up from 43 percent in 2009.
So how do you deliver the more sustainable solutions customers want with the performance and value they expect?
Greener Ways to Get the Job Done
Performance: In the early days of green printing, eco-minded customers often sacrificed performance for sustainability. Fortunately, this no longer is the case today. Newer products are delivering high performance with a sustainability edge.
One good example is the new 3M™ Envision™ Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 and 3M™ Envision™ Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G. Not only is this a high-performance film (with excellent print quality, slideability, snap-up/repositionability, heated film recovery, air release channels and more), it is also a non-PVC film that is phthalate-free and does not contain added chlorine or other halogens.
3M™ Envision™ Wrap Films are:
Highly conformable: Stretch 150 percent without primer and will not lift
Highly durable: Guard against UV rays, high temps, moisture and acid dew
Provide faster removal: Have greater tensile strength to resist tearing
Install in extreme temperatures: So you can save time and reduce errors and waste
Another example is the new 3M™ Envision™ Translucent and Diffuser Films, which make it easy and practical to use LEDs in backlit signs. With 3M's Envision translucent and diffuser films, graphics manufacturers can get the same level of brightness using fewer light sources, reducing material and maintenance costs.
Price: As the use of greener products expands, their prices often drop. In a more sustainable world, however, costs are not measured in dollars alone.
Additional considerations include reducing waste and energy use, improving employee health and safety, limiting hazardous chemicals, or enhancing efficiency. These factors combine into a new way of looking at business - the "triple bottom line," which takes into account environmental, social and financial measures.
This broader context examines how sustainable products are produced, what they're made of, and how they're handled through the lifecycle. Film 480Cv3, for instance, uses 60 percent less solvent during manufacturing, is made in part with bio-based materials and requires no special waste handling. Of course, cost matters - this film is also priced competitively with other premium films.
Preference: Going "greener" can provide you with a competitive advantage. Companies are closely monitoring their sustainability performance and this extends into the supply chain. Preference is granted to suppliers who can deliver sustainable alternatives.
Your Own Eco-Evolution
As sustainability initiatives grow, it may seem daunting to keep pace. Consider changes for your business in stages of "want, will, must."
Want - change by choice. Perhaps you want to move toward greater sustainability simply because you believe it's the right thing to do. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership can help you prioritize the steps that make the most sense for your business.
Will - change by circumstance. Maybe some key equipment needs replacement or one of your customers demands UV-cured inks or non-PVC media. Map out the triggers that will prompt change, and then line up the resources you'll need when the time comes.
Must - change by mandate. Obviously, regulations governing how you do business are "must do's." Industry associations like SGIA and ISA are excellent sources of information on trends and regulations so you can better manage mandatory requirements.
When you go greener, you don't need to go it alone. Contact your 3M Commercial Graphics representative or visit our website for practical, innovative and easy-to-implement greener solutions.