Green is the New Black

05 Apr 2019

Green is the New Black

Sean Holt, Executive Director of FESPA

In a time when environmentally unfriendly practices (such as product waste and excessive use of plastic) are being vilified in mainstream media, a growing awareness around sustainability and carbon footprint reduction is becoming more noticeable throughout the print industry. This has led a number of companies in the signage and wide format sectors to re-evaluate their business practices, with a view to making their products more eco-friendly.

Proof can be found in the data uncovered in our 2018 FESPA Print Census, which exposes insights on the industry’s views on environmentally sustainable production. The consensus is that PSPs (print service providers) are embarking on a broad range of initiatives in the name of environmental responsibility.

For instance, 76% of respondents claim that customer demand for environmentally responsible products is currently driving investments and business strategy, with more than one in five stating that sustainability is a major influence. 32% have responded by using energy-efficient or environmentally certified equipment to satisfy client demand, while other responses highlight alternative green measures that can be taken, including training courses on sustainability, the use of VOC-free inks and recyclable media, or end-of-life recycling programmes.

As PSPs explore all available options, manufacturers are actively developing innovative and environmentally friendly products that can help graphics producers to create exciting opportunities capable of attracting both existing and prospective customers.

HP’s Recycled Satin Canvas is a good example, offering an appealing solution for PSPs producing printable canvases for residential and commercial décor. The product performs similarly to other digitally printable wide format canvases, except it’s made from 100% recycled water bottles. It is products like these that provide PSPs a great opportunity to appeal to the preferences of earth-conscious customers.

Following substantial feedback from FESPA exhibitors emphasising visitor interest in environmentally friendly products, sustainability is set to be a key focus at our Printeriors and Print Make Wear features at FESPA 2019 (14 – 17 May, Munich, Germany).

An area dedicated to fast fashion production, Print Make Wear (hall B6) will be championing the use of blank garments for its direct-to-garment textiles provided by Neutral, a market leading producer of sustainable apparel and accessories to the B2B market. Neutral uses FairTrade cotton and has been awarded the EU Ecolabel for meeting high environmental standards. FESPA will also be using water-based inks from MagnaColours for the screen printed direct-to-garment textiles. The garments produced via the roll-to-roll technologies will be digitally printed, as they have less of an environmental impact than screen printing. In addition, the garments used at the show will use sustainably sourced substrates, such as recycled polyester and eco-canvas textiles.

Printeriors (located in the East Entrance and outside hospitality areas of Messe Munich) will highlight the many developing opportunities and benefits of using print in the interior and exterior design sector. With this innovative décor feature, FESPA will be using fully recyclable board products, provided by Swanline and Dufaylite. Everything on display in Printeriors will be available for purchase, limiting the items to be disposed of or shipped back.

Sustainability will also be a prominent theme at the seminars taking place in the Trend Theatre (hall B5). Among these will be EFI Reggiani’s presentation on direct sublimation as a short, complete and sustainable solution for the textile market, while also outlining best practices for reducing energy and water consumption, and minimising carbon footprint. Another seminar, jointly hosted by Lightwords Imaging and ETIRA (the European Toner and InkJet Remanufacturers Association), will focus on the responsible use of inks in the wide format market and how these impact the bottom line of a print business.

For signage and wide format businesses looking to reaffirm their commitment to the environment by engaging in more sustainable practices, FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 will offer valuable insight into how this can be achieved.

For more information on FESPA Global Expo, Printeriors and Print Make Wear, click here. For free entry, use code FESM916 when registering to attend.

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FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 in Munich is Europe’s largest exhibition for screen and digital wide format print, textile printing and signage. Over 4 days visitors have the opportunity to experience the latest products and innovations on display from over 700 exhibitors.