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Our Quest to be more eco friendly

by Nathan Swinson-Bullough

Sustainability is a widely used word, the print industry is far from sustainable but over recent years we have started to see a shift in production methods and materials that is driven by some of the big brands and corporations out there.

Adidas plans to be plastic free by 2024, this will not only be in their footwear but also their apparel. We are starting to see this reflected in their store POS and window displays, many other retailers are following suit. This then resonates down the chain to their supply chain. One truck’s worth of plastic is dumped in the ocean every minute and by 2050 there will be more plastic in our sea than fish. If our oceans die, we die. This is extremely sad and as consumers, we have all played our part in this.

David Attenborough’s  Blue Planet 2 showed shocking images of sea life entangled in plastic and huge islands of floating plastic that really brought the problem home. From that point onwards we realised we had to do more to at least slow this problem. This is just one ecological disaster, global warming is an increasing threat to our planet, caused by humans, with many of the effects now irreversible.

So what can we do, not just Imageco but our supply partners and customers and fellow printers.

In 2019 we set ourselves the challenge of finding more eco-friendly product alternatives for our product portfolio, this is still going today and will rapidly change over the coming years as our ecological problems become more apparent.

The print industry is full of plastic and PVC, unfortunately, this won’t go away anytime soon but by slowly changing our behaviour and finding suitable alternatives to PVC and plastics we can make the change. Becoming more sustainable isn’t just about the material we print on but how we print it, how we power the printers, how we dispose of our waste products, even how we choose to travel to work. There is a lot of work to be done in making these positive changes and educating our clients too.

Sustainable media.

Xanita Board

Ultra-lightweight, 100% repulpable, Non-Toxic, Flat packable, Directly printable.

Xanita is a huge step forward for sustainable materials and we absolutely love it, so much so that all our exhibition stands are made from Xanita board. It’s made from 100% recycled paper, the board is also made from cross-corrugated compact paper. Xanita replaces smart foam PVC, 10mm foamex and MDF. As an alternative to MDF, the applications for this material is limitless, we use it anywhere we can.

Ocean Tex

Ocean Tex, is a fabric for lightboxes and tension frames, the material is made from 100% recycled bottles. The white point and clarity when printed look as good as traditional backlit fabrics. A completely sustainable alternative to traditional plastic-based materials. The product is completely PVC free, so it avoids the hazardous chlorine-based production process.

Eco Board & Canvas 

Our Eco Board range covers a various selection of FCS fibre-based boards for use on fluted applications through to the replacement of 3 and 5mm foamex. Ideal for internal and some external uses.

Eco Canvas is a revolutionary printable wallpaper reinforced with synthetic fibres for high strength and durability. This robust product is paper-based & contains 20% post-consumer waste, helping you to achieve your goals in an environmentally friendly fashion. It is a superior alternative to PVC coated wallcovering and is ideal for transforming any interior space. 

Our Printing Methods

We work tirelessly on bringing print and signage into the 21st century, while keeping the industry-leading quality that makes us who we are. Our HP and Vutek printers are 2 of the more ecologically friendly printers on the market, the Latex has water-based inks and the Vutek has LED cooling technology. This combined with our Caldera automatic print/cut features ensure that any waste is minimal, and ink output is kept to the minimum required.

Waste Management and Power

We work with Prism for our general waste management who have a zero landfill policy, combined with this all our paper and card waste gets compacted and taken away for recycling. We also have stillages for dibond and acrylic.

Earlier this year we invested in a voltage optimisation device from Leeds based Planet U Energy which reduces our factory’s overall power consumption, lowering both our energy bills and our CO2 output by up to 2700kg per year.

Plans have also begun to fully operate on solar energy, stay tuned for more updates.

Carbon Offsetting

Our carbon offsetting scheme contributes to the planting of trees based on the fuel used by our vans. One day in the future our vans will be electric but until this day arrives, we see the carbon offsetting scheme as a little return for our frequent journeys around the UK. Our industry needs to step up and face our global problems, by making small changes we can begin to make a difference and hopefully slow the ecological disasters that await us in the future.

We work tirelessly on bringing print and signage into the 21st century while keeping the industry-leading quality that makes us who we are.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you switch to eco. Get in touch.