It’s a time when environmental issues are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, yet reducing your brand’s carbon footprint via sustainable printing and eco-friendly signage and display graphics may not have leapt immediately to mind. But there’s never been a better time to lessen the impact your business has on the planet by investing in reusable signs and graphics.
The reality is that the commercial printing and signage sectors have traditionally lagged behind many others when it comes to sustainability issues. However, thanks to some great initiatives such as Isla, the drive to accelerate a more environmentally friendly future for the print industry, there are signs printers are finally catching up.
What’s more, sustainable printing methods are increasingly popular as technological advances allow printers to create sustainable, high-quality products.
The issue with non-reusable or recyclable materials
Sticking to materials you can’t reuse or recycle is clearly problematic. In the past, large-format graphics and other printed materials used substances which were typically hard to recycle or reuse, including in things like vinyl banners, or paper coated in a material such as wax, foil or plastic.
It can take up more than 400 years for plastic to decompose. What’s more, in the UK we currently recycle less than 1% of all PVC produced, while printed banners account for a huge 550 tonnes of PVC which go into landfill or are incinerated, releasing damaging toxins.
Production processes can be harmful in terms of waste and use of energy and other resources. Meanwhile, end printed products such as banners or exhibition stands or items for specific events often have a limited lifespan.
Sustainable signage strategies
The good news is that there are many ways in which brands can turn to more sustainable printing and reduce waste when it comes to their printing products.
And while also benefitting the planet, there can be some other advantages you may not have fully appreciated, for example for brand implementation. Increasingly, often driven by social media, consumers are holding brands to account when it comes to their sustainability efforts.
What’s more, sustainable printing and eco-friendly signage options are often a better look for your brand’s image, as well as being bang on-trend; so you certainly won’t have to compromise when it comes to the aesthetics of your print products.
Here are some of our top brand-boosting sustainability tips for graphics and signage:
#1 Choose an eco-friendly printing and signage company
The first step towards reducing your brand’s carbon footprint is to find a sustainable printing and signage company which has a clear commitment to issues such as reducing waste and recycling. A print firm like this is far more likely to have invested in and/or used the latest, sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
You will find that some printers offer traditional as well as newer options in terms of materials and processes, while others may have switched to only using eco-friendlier practices wherever possible.
#2 Going digital with your signage
There are a number of settings in which digital signage can work really well, including advertising boards at sports stadiums or concert venues. But you’ll also find it across the hospitality sector, offices, transport systems and places like museums, as well as outdoor advertising.
There are various benefits to reap, from affordability to waste reduction. Save money when you need to change what you are displaying, and do so more easily than you would with the non-electronic alternatives.
#3 Materials: the natural choice
Natural materials, including woods and metals, provide some of the most sustainable choices for your print materials. Not only that, but they are currently the popular choice, and these materials tend to complement both each other and your brand very well.
Clearly, recyclable paper and card are obvious options, and you may well be using these already. Choose paper products from well-managed sources with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.
You can also go for vegetable-based inks as another option.
Meanwhile, look for other materials which can be recycled, from some metals to wood waste, which accounts for approaching a fifth of landfill contents, totalling over 4.5 million tonnes annually. So wood waste has now actually become a highly desirable recyclable product.
#4 Consider using newer, more sustainable materials
You won’t necessarily be able to use natural-looking materials such as metals and woods in every project. For example, window graphics may need vinyl or large banners, or you may be after event or stadium signage for your brand. Think about using, wherever you can, materials such as bubble board, PVC-free vinyl and eco-friendly flag materials.
#5 Bring signage to life with living plants
Plant matter is increasingly an integral element of display graphics and sustainable signage strategies, especially with more permanent displays, although this may not be something you have considered previously.
As well as adding depth and dimension, plants can bring any design vividly to life, whether that’s for a window display or an exterior signage installation.
Using moss and foliage, living walls or signs come in a rainbow of colours and can be combined with other elements such as 3D graphics, lighting or other eco-friendly materials including maybe bark. And if you go for a moss-only living sign, you’ll find it’s virtually maintenance-free.
Thinking about natural signage can do a lot to increase your brand’s popularity.
We’re committed to a sustainable signage and print industry
At large-format printing firm Rocket Graphics, we’re keen to play our part in helping the industry work towards a more sustainable future. For example, we’re part of the Isla initiative mentioned above; additionally, we invest heavily in sustainable materials wherever possible, and it’s something we’re always working on and improving. Indeed, where we can, we use sustainable materials as standard, for anything from a small-scale project to sports signage for a high-profile event.
Based just outside London at Watford, we’re ideally placed to cover the whole of the UK (and beyond) – the central location makes for shorter journeys, helping our own carbon footprint. We specialise in both large-format printing and signage production and installation, and operate across a broad range of industries from events and retail signage through to working for offices and other commercial buildings.
Talk to us today about sustainable signage and display graphics to help your brand implementation.