CR and the environment

A year ago, we launched E-CR, a downloadable, PDF version of the magazine that contains all the content from the printed edition but uses no paper, no ink and a fraction of the energy

In terms of lessening our environmental impact, persuading readers to switch to this version of the magazine would be the most dramatic thing we could do. But a lot of you will always prefer print, so in the meantime, here are some of the changes in the way this magazine is produced that have lessened our environmental impact. To be honest, most were introduced primarily because they are quicker, cheaper or more accurate, but all have an impact on our use of resources.

_ We now print the magazine computer to plate (CTP) which removes the need to produce film, saving on average around 360 A3 sheets of film per issue and eliminating harmful processes.

_ Web-based proofing: only initial proofing is done using physical proofs. Later stages are proofed online using a web-based PDF system developed by our repro house, PH Media, saving paper and transport.

_ Over 99 per cent of images used in the magazine are digital, including commissioned photography. In the past, every issue produced a giant envelope full of transparencies and prints. No longer.

_ Using up leftovers: our marketing materials and other additional print jobs use paper held by our printers, St Ives Roche, which is left over from previous jobs.

_ Our square shape uses up more of the paper sheet than conventional formats resulting in less waste.

_ The white strip in the gutter of all editorial pages makes them easier to de-ink and therefore, easier to recycle.

_ We use aqueous seals and varnish not UV.

_ Our printer, St Ives Roche, has established an Environmental Management System to ISO14001 and is “in the process of developing and implementing site systems and procedures to ensure that the requirements of the standard will be met”. It uses alcohol-free fountain solutions on the press that prints our text pages. The majority of cleaning solvents used at the site for manual cleaning and which, therefore, don’t pass through the press ovens, are not classified as VOCs. All waste paper is recycled as are all printing plates. In addition, all unsold copies of CR are also recycled.

For this issue we looked at what additional changes we could make given the very short lead time involved (four weeks):

_ We have changed the polybag used to package the magazine to a biodegradable material. Once remaining stocks of the previous bag have been used up, we will use this material going forward.

_ Pages 3,4, 41-44, 83 and 84 of this magazine are printed on Cyclus Print, which is made from 100 per cent post-consumer waste.

_ Not having a cover, saving 8700 sheets of cover stock.

_ From this issue onward we will give all advertisers a discount if they book inserts printed on FSC-certified or recycled paper.

However, we know that this isn’t enough. There are a lot more aspects that we should consider including:

_ Our paper: Our current text stock, Galerie One, is made by M-real at a mill in Finland run under both ISO14001 and EMAS environmental management systems. But we also need to consider where the pulp used to make the paper comes from. The issue of forestry certification has become a minefield of claim and counterclaim. Both the FSC and PEFC (see opposite), have vocal supporters and critics. Galerie One is PEFC-certified, which means that a proportion of the pulp comes from PEFC-approved sources, but the rest does not. M-real says that it is their policy “only to use wood which comes from sustainably managed commercial forests”. All M-real’s wood and pulp suppliers, they say, are required to have wood origin tracing systems in use; ensure that logging is carried out in strict compliance with relevant national and local legislation and that reliable information on the origin of the wood is made available to them. Our supplier, James McNaughton Paper Group, assures us that the paper comes from well-managed forests and under a chain of custody certification scheme. However, recognising environmental groups’ criticisms of PEFC, we will be conducting further investigations into the provenance of our paper and, if not satisfied that it is being produced in a sustainable manner, we pledge to switch to another stock as soon as is practicable.

_ Changing inks: Our text pages are printed using mineral-based inks on a heat set, web offset press. Our printers have procedures in place to lessen the impact of all VOCs, including using abatement equipment. Although we recognise that vegetable-oil based inks may be more environmentally friendly, the fact that they need longer drying times means that they are not suitable for heat set printing. Ink manufacturers are working to produce vegetable-oil based inks which are suitable for heat set. Our aim is to switch as soon as possible and we will be testing suitable vegetable-based inks as soon as they become available.

_ Finding a better long-term solution poly as a packaging material. Our new biodegradable material is a step forward but there are greener alternatives.

_ Continuing our coverage of the topics raised in future issues of the magazine.

 

GLOSSARY

Carbon Neutral
Defined as the point at which the amount of CO2 produced by a manufacturing process, distribution system and/or product use is equal to the amount being removed. The concept is that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be estimated and the company or individual producing those emissions can offset them by contributing to positive projects such as re-planting, using energy from renewable sources etc.

De-Inking 
The removal of printing ink and mechanical impurities by flotation and/or washing pulped waste paper before it is recycled.

Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) 
Pulp that has been bleached using certain chlorine compounds, but never chlorine gas. This is the new term for the earlier way of defining chlorine free or low chlorine paper.

Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) 
Europe-wide voluntary initiative designed to improve companies’ environmental performance. Its aim is to recognise and reward those organisations that go beyond minimum legal compliance and continuously improve their environmental performance.

FSC
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was set up following a meeting of timber users, traders and human rights and environmental organisations in 1990. It is an independent organisation that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests through developing standards, a certification system and trademark recognition.

The trademark of the FSC label on paper, it claims, guarantees that the forest of origin has been independently inspected and evaluated to comply with an internationally agreed set of strict environmental, social and economic standards.

Greenpeace believes that FSC is “the only internationally recognised forest certification system that can give rigorous and credible assurance that timber products come from well managed forests. It is the only scheme supported by major environmental groups as well as progressive timber companies and many indigenous peoples’ organisations. Put simply, FSC is the best assurance of getting environmentally and socially responsible wood.” Critics have claimed that FSC is “controlled” by environmental NGOs and that its values are “biased” in their favour.

Green Mark 
An award scheme developed by The London Environment Centre that enables smaller businesses to demonstrate their environmental improvement and commitment. There are three stages to the Green Mark scheme – after completion, the company gets a certificate and is given the Green Mark logo to use for marketing purposes.

Heavy metals
Some printing inks can contain hazardous materials. These range from heavy metals used in colouring to petroleum-based solvents (used to disperse pigments and accelerate the drying process). When leached into the environment, heavy metals such as barium, copper and zinc can contaminate soil and groundwater. However, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “due to the efforts of the ink makers, the exposure to many of these metals has been eliminated.” Although elements may remain in inks, “these materials are not emitted to the air, but become part of the printed product”. Many ink suppliers now guarantee that their pigments are heavy metal-free.

IPA (isopropyl alcohol)
Used in the “fountain solution” which washes over printing plates to keep areas ink-free. IPA is a VOC, and can participate in the formation of ground level ozone. It is also very flammable. Responsible printers are cutting the levels of IPAs used in fountain solutions, or even using alcohol-free solutions to lessen their environmental impact and protect the health of workers.

ISO 14001 
An international standard that specifies a process for controlling and improving a company’s environmental performance. An Environmental Management System provides a framework for managing environmental responsibilities so they become more efficient and integrated into overall business operations.

PEFC
Like FSC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Council is a body ostensibly set up to promote and verify good forestry practice. It is an independent, non-profit,

non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 by the forestry industry. The PEFC claims to provide an assurance mechanism, through the verification of forests by an independent inspector, to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

However, no environmental NGOs currently support it, citing its alleged lack of transparency and inconsistency. Greenpeace accuses the PEFC of being “designed by the logging industry for the logging industry”. Furthermore, Greenpeace alleges that the PEFC “green-washes bad logging practices and directly contributes to the destruction of ancient forests, such as in Finland”. For its part, the PEFC insists that its members “are committed to promoting the environmentally appropriate, economically viable and socially beneficial management of forests”. In an interview with the Forest Certification Watch website, PEFC General Secretary Ben Gunneberg said that “a lot of people have unfortunately been subjected only to biased propaganda reports and views about PEFC. As more people do their homework, they realise that they have been misinformed by vested interests. As time progresses and people engage more in forest certification, they realise that PEFC is a very good system worthy of support.”

Post-Consumer Waste 
Waste paper that has been used for its intended purpose and then de-inked.

Processed Chlorine Free (PCF)
Applies to papers with recycled content and guarantees that any post consumer waste used to make them has not been re-bleached using compounds containing chlorine.

Recycled Pulp
Pulp made from waste paper or board and used to make paper. It may or may not be de-inked. The quality of the fibres deteriorates with recycling, so paper cannot be endlessly recycled.

Totally Chlorine Free (TCF)
The term Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) means that the pulp has been bleached without the use of any chlorine chemicals whatsoever. The bleaching agents now used are a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and oxygen that do not generate harmful toxins and give the same result.

Virgin Fibre
Pulp fibre that is being used for the first time in the paper making process.

VOCs
Printing routinely results in the release of quantities of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), through the use of inks, varnishes, cleaning solvents and even glue for binding. VOCs are hazardous to humans and the environment, they are soil and groundwater contaminants and they also contribute to air pollution. Some VOCs have been linked to the deterioration of the earth’s protective ozone layer and, consequently, to global warming.

As reported in the November/December 1998 premier issue of the Environmental Print Journal, the undisputed effects of occupational exposure to organic solvents include damage to liver, kidneys and lungs, degreasing of the skin and dermatitis, mild and reversible effects on the nervous system and more severe effects from large acute exposure. Printers now seek to lessen health risks through such measures as lidded solvent cans, lidded bins for rags and switching to non-VOC solvents wherever practicable.

Woodfree 
Does not mean that the paper has no wood in it. Woodfree means pulp or paper that contains no mechanical wood pulp ie pulp that is created by grinding logs. Instead, a chemical process is used.

 

With thanks to James McNaughton Group and Caroline Clark.

 

 

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