What are VOCs anyway? VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) can be injurious to health, carcinogenic and environmentally destructive. The solvent or UV inks most commonly used in wide-format printing “outgas” emitting VOCs, even after they’r e supposedly “dry .” Water -based inks (the kind that EcoVisual uses for large format output) are better for the environment, emit no VOCs, are easier to recycle and safer for common uses. Why expose workers, users or anyone to potentially dangerous VOCs when you don’t have to?

Inkjet? Is it good enough? Large format inkjet printing of the kind used at EcoVisual is a far cry from typical desktop printing and better for the environment than solvent, UV and offset printing. The quality is extraordinarily high through the use of up to 12 different ink positions. The high-end inks used emit no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our combination of inks and papers are truly archival.

Are reclaimed fiber/recycled papers any good? As recently as a few years ago, recycled papers were often inferior. That has changed now and most recycled papers are virtually indistinguishable from “virgin” papers. The idea that recycled papers are more expensive is also a myth. Many of the best such papers are comparable in cost to their virgin counterparts. The real benefit? The EPA estimates that one ton of 100% post-consumer recycled paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity and 60 pounds of air pollution. Using recycled paper makes business and environmental sense

Should I eliminate print in my company to help the environment? No reasonable person would suggest entirely eliminating print communications. Every business wants their audiences to receive information in the ways that are best for them. But, when you have to print, it makes sense to use vegetable or water -based inks, recycled papers or papers from sustainable resources. We also suggest not printing more than you need. Using both sides of the paper you print, specifying layouts that maximize efficiency, and printing on lighter weight papers also helps!

Why is art important in the workplace? According to the Business Committee for the arts (www.bcainc.org) research has established a positive correlation between art in the workplace and productivity. A positive visual environment can inspire creativity and encourage calm, clear thinking. John D. Ong, Chairman Emeritus of the BFGoodrich Company stated: “People cannot create when they work and live in a culturally sterile environment.... That is why business invests in the arts, even when times are tough, and when there is increased pressure to manage money carefully ." 1 1. www.bcainc.org

Why domestic vs. imported papers? While some of the world’s best papers are manufactured in Europe and the Far East, equivalent domestic papers are readily available. Why is this important? Paper is heavy for a given volume. Transporting it uses large amounts of fossil fuels, increases CO2 emissions and creates more green- house gases. In addition, imported papers are often produced from rainforests, some in our own “backyard.” For example, in British Columbia, 90% of logging occurs in ancient forests and 40% of the trees cut in BC are used to produce paper. The 100% cotton papers we use are produced locally.

Is soy ink an eco myth? There has been a lot of enthusiasm for soy-based inks as an “eco alternative” to petroleum-based products. However , many of these “soy” inks also contain petroleum products. Most experts now suggest pure vegetable-based inks as the best eco products for offset printing. Latex inks for wide format printers area promising alternative to UV and solvent inks for outdoor use. All of EcoVisual’s large-format, in-house printing is done with water-based, pigmented inks which are broadly considered to be more ecologically sound than any UV - or solvent-ink counterparts.

Is digital imaging better than film? Film imaging uses silver salts and numerous chemicals that are harmful enough to be regulated by the EPA. The true health effects of these chemicals are, even after all these years, unknown. We believe that digital imaging is far more eco-friendly. In quality terms, many digital imaging systems now equal or exceed the technical specifications of film. While e-waste is always an issue, digital cameras are often resold, handed down and otherwise kept from landfills. According to most experts, digital printing, including inkjet, is believed to be more eco-friendly than traditional darkroom and film-to-plate printing.

With oil, CO2 and greenhouse gases to worry about, why care about printing? Nearly 59 % of high-grade paper, the type used for most printing, is never recovered. Just what does that mean? According to The American Forest & Paper Association, nearly 14 million tons of fine papers are left in landfills accounting for almost 9% of all the materials in landfills and almost a third of paper and paper products in landfills. In addition, nearly half of the trees cut in North America go to paper making (itself an inefficient, polluting process) and paper making often utilizes early growth trees that are too small for lumber.

There’s chlorine in my pool. So why is it bad in paper manufacturing? Most of us know chlorine as the stuff in swimming pools that stings our eyes. But chlorine mixed with wood products can create dioxins. Conservatree.org states, “As early as 1985, the EPA labeled dioxin the most potent carcinogen ever tested in laboratory animals." They go on to say, “Dioxin travels up the food chain, bioaccumulating in the fatty tissues of fish, sea birds and mammals. Therefore, even a minuscule amount in water can create a significant risk in humans and wildlife.” That’ s why using totally chlorine free (TCF) paper is so important to the health of the planet... and you!

Why so much focus on paper? Does it really mean that much? According to an AIGA report citing the American Forest and Paper Association, the average American uses more than 748 pounds of paper annually. Waste paper is America’s single largest export by weight. It takes about 68 million trees every year to create the catalogs and mail solicitations we receive annually, nearly half of which wind up unopened in the trash. Paper manufacturing is the third largest user of fossil fuels and the world’s largest user of water per pound of product produced. If all of the world’s people consumed paper as American’s do, we would need four times the world’ s available paper related resources.

Is sustainability good for my business? A Fortune 500 comapny report entitled Sustainability Overview published in 2007 states: “The bottom line: sustainability is good for business. Besides conserving costly resources and reducing waste, embracing sustainability will improve your overall marketability, your ability to attract and hold customers and quality employees, and your relationships with clients, investors, and suppliers. With so much at stake, sustainability should always be a factor in determining your strategic heading.” Furthermore, these days, there is a growing expectation on the part of educated customers and shareholders that companies be more eco-conscious.

 

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