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Why Wide-format Printers Sell (or Don't Sell) Sustainability

Do you or don’t you: We ask the Brain Squad whether they actively market environmentally friendly processes and products.





Do you promote sustainable, environmentally responsible products and practices to your customers? If not, why not?

YES: 45%

  • [We] promote on our website and offer to customers, but it is a hard sell. — Peter Brunner, Full Sail Graphics & Marketing
  • We are an SGP-certified facility and participate in other environmentally responsible initiatives like Print Releaf. We are always testing and recommending more eco-friendly substrate choices to our customers. Every visitor to the facility is introduced to our sustainable programs and SGP. We share and promote eco-friendly materials to the industry at large and pressure materials manufacturers to do better and offer more choices. — Brian Hite, Image Options
  • Yes, we recently launched a sustainability committee to tackle both internal improvements and to support our customers in their efforts on more sustainable materials, reducing carbon footprint. — Kristi Duvall, The BoxMaker
  • We have tried and do what we can (I’m sure we could always do more). Many of our markets are not willing to pay a premium for environmentally [friendly] products. It’s easy to switch if it’s cost-neutral, but if there’s a price difference we have not had as much success. — Brian Adam, Olympus Group
  • We’re consistently working on offering an Earth-friendlier solution for every material possible in our product line.  — Morgen Masciana, DCG One

  • [We] print to order, donate unused materials or discontinued products to non-profits, [and use] all water-based inks where possible. [We also] encourage eco-friendly materials. — Jon Sherman, Flavor Paper
  • Many customers require that we only use sustainable materials, which usually means paper-based. It has been a nice push to get our vendors to search these out, and we are replacing materials like vinyl banner and rigid plastic substrates. — Ryan Clark, Direct Edge

  • Depending on the client/budget, we will propose sustainable products. The price point can be hard to swallow when compared to less friendly substrates, but for some clients there is certainly value in eco-friendly solutions. — Rob Matthews, M3
  • We have made small, individual steps to make better sustainability choices as a company, such as removing solvent printers from our arsenal and instead using latex, UV, and water-based dye-sub. We’re currently devising a more comprehensive strategy that includes both how we operate as a company and our printer/material matchup offerings to our clients. — Darren LoPrinzi, Color Reflections

  • [Yes,] but once they discover the cost difference, most opt to not buy the recyclable product. — David Kaiser, Digitype Design
  • Yes, but we haven’t really pushed hard. Some people care a lot about it, and some don’t. We still do our best to be environmentally responsible and look for new materials that support that. We have shifted to water-based inks, materials made from post-consumer waste (recycled materials), and we have streamlined our process to minimize waste. — Tracy Hiner, Black Crow Studios

  • Outside of sustainable materials and inks, the obvious wins here include recycling for paper at every desk, recycling for plastic and aluminum cans by the break areas, and the recycling of our fab shop steel and aluminum. bluemedia has been able to also complete an LED lighting overhaul and a ceiling insulation rework. [We also] look at other [ways] to be more sustainable, such as Teams meetings when flights aren’t really necessary. Once you start thinking about it, there are some easy, inexpensive, and effective moves to make. It feels good to check one of those off and be a small part of the solution. — Jared Smith, bluemedia
  • [Yes,] but most don’t like the increased cost. Much of large format is PVC and plastics with adhesives. [It’s] hard to [balance] performance, cost, and environment. — Rick Mandel, Mandel Graphic Solutions

NO: 55%

  • We just don’t have a range of products at the moment. But [we are] aiming to get to the stage where we can offer the standard range at X price and the alternative range at Y price. The wastage in materials in our industry is outrageous. We live in a state where there is a big push about single-use plastics, so we are happy to get on board with changes. — Derek Michalanney, Signageworld
  • Not yet. We are in the process of updating equipment with low power consumption and green formulations and testing on bio sustainable materials so we can offer products with the quality and time of use appropriate quality as our current offerings. — Linda Fong, Fastsigns Oakland, Fastsigns Hayward
  • As a start-up business this is just not something we have focused on. — Mark Potter, Kingdom Vinyls
  • None of our customers have asked [about] environmental issues about our printing. — Norman Critchfield, Hesston Prestige Printing
  • It’s funny actually – we only rarely are questioned about these issues. We have always recycled as a matter of policy. We save and use scrap pieces whenever possible and recycle everything we can’t cycle into our workflow. But few clients actually think to ask. — Jim Dittmer, JDA Creative Color
  • Hahahaha… that’s funny. The sign industry is terrible for the environment with virtually nothing recyclable. LOL. — Tim Bezner, Westmount Signs and Printing Co.

  • We encourage our suppliers to provide sustainable products. I haven’t had a client ask me for reusable products. — Tommy Melendez, Master Graphics NYC

YOU’RE INVITED! Own or manage a wide-format printing business? Join the Brain Squad to participate in useful surveys on issues important to wide-format printing professionals:

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. wide-format printing business, you’re invited to join the Big Picture Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting wide-format professionals. Sign up here.




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