Help our printing to go green!
August 27, 2009 12:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I make my non-profit's printing more green?

We've been using a company that rhymes with Bovineright Dints, but we want to go greener and frankly their customer service is abominable. As it's a non-profit, we don't exactly have a ton to shell out in terms of money, so I need something that is priced reasonably. Our last print job was several thousand color postcards and cards for an event, but sometimes we do smaller print jobs of 100 or so for sub-programs. I have already started getting price quotes, since my end goal is a report on how much it would cost our organization to use green printing.

Does anyone have any good tips or experiences that might help this project be a success?
posted by melissam to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most of the nonprofits I get mailings from are frantically trying to get me off their paper lists and on to electronic ones. Reducing is the greenest way of all.

Have you tried round the local small (non-chain) printers? Quite often, they'll work with your requirements and limitation, while franchise printers will try to get you to use Print Package A, B, C, ...
posted by scruss at 12:22 PM on August 27, 2009

Ditto scruss: reduce, and talk to a local printshop that can help you pick eco-friendly paper and ink.

A couple suggestions: reduce the amount of ink used by stopping with the full-color printing. Inks, although they're getting better with time, have some of the nastier printing-related chemicals in their production and application. A skilled graphic designer can do wonders with one- or two- color, without it looking like you did it on your photocopier - and one or two color print runs are much cheaper. Put the greenness into your marketing text, too - add a little line to all mailings, saying what you're doing to help the environment, and encourage the recipient to recycle what you mailed them. If you send stuff that expects a response, design it so they send the entire card back to you, then you recycle it.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:56 PM on August 27, 2009

Yes, we are trying to switch over to email, but some of the people we work with are still snail mailers. I've been talking to some local printers so far, but would love to hear about experiences people have had making the switch.
posted by melissam at 2:03 PM on August 27, 2009

Mix in Pantone 361?

In the spirit of recycling, send something they can reuse or get multi-purpose use out of (a business card that's also a can opener, that sort of thing).

But frankly, paper with recycled content just plain costs more. A switch to email with a message of not only are we saving the environment, but we're making your donation dollars go farther is the way to go.
posted by IndigoSkye at 3:52 PM on August 27, 2009

This blog post suggests Consolidated Printing which seems to be pretty advanced in terms of using bio fuels, eliminating toxic chemicals etc, as well as using recycled paper and soy-based inks.
posted by cushie at 6:37 PM on August 27, 2009

Balmar - the printshop my trade association works with - are all about going green. Every job we do, our customer service rep can help us evaluate how to do things greener (if we ask, which we do). That includes suggesting paper, talking about color choices with the designer, evaluating mail piece size, which printer they will use (almost always their Nexpress rather than offset printing), etc.

While we have reduced our mailings by more than half in the last few years (primarily by using to postcards rather than full brochures or full greeting cards in envelopes, for example), there are still instances when we have to print stuff. They makes it easy to be both green and frugal.

And I swear, I don't work for them. I am just a happy customer.
posted by gemmy at 6:41 PM on August 27, 2009

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