Can You Be An Ethical Printer ?

The commercial print process that is totally "green" has not been invented yet. All print shops use paper - and paper manufacture (even if the end result is 100% recycled) uses a lot of energy and water and produces waste products. Most inks used in the printing industry are still petroleum based and those used in full colour printing can contain a nasty cocktail of solvents and heavy metals. Add to this the results of some printing processes - waste paper, chemical wash downs, used fixer, ink sludges, and harmful fumes - and the picture is not bright.

So, should you, the customer, despair?

No, you should come to marc!

At marc we try to reduce negative impacts on the environment to a minimum. Our soya ink print process uses digital machines called Risographs. This process avoids all the worst aspects of the printing procedure. The ink is soya-based and contains none of the solvents that cause volatile organic emissions. There is no waste ink, no fixers, no wash downs, no disposable aluminium plates. The Risograph printer uses very little energy as there is no heat involved - it is a wet ink process. All of the waste paper that we (or our DIY customers!) produce is re-used as scrap for the machines and then graded for recycling by a local company - Emerge. We are able to print on A4 and A3 size paper and so the waste associated with the use of oversized stock is kept to a minimum.

As far as paper is concerned, we have one of the widest selections of recycled papers in the North - and they are really recycled. Our standard white 80g and 100g stock papers are 100% post consumer waste recycled. We also have a wide range of 100% recycled coloured papers and card. We do not print on glossy paper. China clay is used in the production of glossy paper and is obtained from open cast mining - which is about just as environmentally unfriendly as it gets. In fact, 80% of all china clay mined is used in the glossy paper making business.

marc also has a role in educating people about the benefits of our printing process and the environmental benefits that result. We encourage the use of recycled products wherever we can. We try to increase the understanding of the various print processes so that individuals and groups can make informed choices when producing their printed material. We will continue to look at our work practices and extend our policy of trying to minimise marc's environmental impact.

We are proud that organisations such as the Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) and Friends of the Earth use our services, and that so many of our customers come to us because of our ecological and social concerns.