The Internet revolution has brought about significant changes in many aspects of our daily lives. One of the most important contributions that the proliferation of Internet technologies has made is the popularization of electronic communication. Indeed, it's hard to find somebody who doesn't have an email address. Everyday, our Internet mailboxes are getting swamped by hundreds of mails from all around the globe. Electronic books are finding their way into nifty mobile devices and word processing software and computers are on the verge of making the paper industry go bankrupt.
However, in spite of all these wonderful innovations in the way we communicate, the world has not been able to fully shrug off the need for papers and printing. The need for paper and print remains strong - for business cards, packaging, brochures and other uses that call for a well-designed, quality print piece. Just count the items that land in your mailbox every day, including the armful of catalogs, and you will realize that the printing industry will probably take a very long time indeed to make itself truly redundant.
The modern times are marked by a keener awareness of the environment and ecological factors. Global warming is a menace that looms large on the future of our planet. It has escalated concern about the impact of many commercial and personal choices - including the ecological costs of print and paper. Industrial processes have long been a culprit in this respect. They have been contributing to the rapid degeneration of the ecology and environment by recklessly depleting natural resources and polluting the environment with harmful industrial by-products.
Printing houses are no exception. They produce what are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), caused by the use of petroleum-based inks, laminates, varnishes and adhesives. Studies have shown that these compounds pose a great threat to human health. By releasing VOCs in the air that we breathe, the risk of asthma attacks is greatly increased. To make matters worse, most industries choose to overlook the adverse impact that they are laying on the earth's natural resources.
So, what's the way out of this madness? The answer is green printing, the environment-friendly mantra that is being adopted by more and more printers worldwide everyday to comply with existing regulations and lessen the harmful impact on the environment. Green printing, once the passion of a select coterie of printers and print buyers, is now in demand as a way to help companies protect their investments, satisfy shareholders and enhance their image with customers. It is becoming a standard that more and more companies are trying to adhere to.
Green printing encompasses a lot more than just adopting measures to lessen pollution. The issue of conservation is an important part of the notion. One will be surprised to know that the paper and printing industry ranks fourth among manufacturers in the amount of energy used. Producing paper and the electricity needed for factory operations, coupled with the actual printing process, put a heavy drain on fossil fuels. Such continuing reckless usage and exploitation of the earth's natural resources will endanger the future of the planet to an alarming magnitude.
Green printing services keep track of the total energy usage and implement strategies for minimizing the adverse impact brought upon by their businesses on the environment. A lot of things are taken into account, such as, carefully planning operations to minimize electricity use, putting a lighter drain on natural resources and sourcing paper from companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It also means recycling and reusing paper and other supplies whenever possible.
It is time to realize that embracing green printing practices is more than an altruistic endeavor; it's an act of self-interest, even self-preservation.