While many industries are struggling with how to make their businesses more environmentally friendly and sustainable, the printing industry is already well ahead of the game in that aspect.
There are several industry standards that are expected to be maintained by printing companies and a number of voluntary programs that go further. All of these programs and certifications are aimed at ensuring that their industry is not hurting the environment and is disposing of any wastes ethically and intelligently.
There are various certifications towards which printing companies can work. The Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership is a voluntary program that certifies printers who subscribe to its specific criteria of sustainability and environmentally friendly standards. Paper producers can apply for certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which promotes intelligent use and conservation of forest resources, and also from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These three certifications give printers the opportunity to buy papers that were not created from trees culled from old growth forests and whose production has not damaged the ecosystem.
Most printing companies today buy recycled papers and those from sustainable sources, many use vegetable-based inks, most recycle whatever waste they create and the majority, if not all of them, dispose of any hazardous materials in a way that will not further damage the environment. When printing companies follow industry standards, it can only help the public and potential customers to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to do business with that company.