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Sustainability in print: where to begin

Creating a sustainable print industry

As experts in graphics, XG Group take it as our responsibility to have the most up-to-date information in print solutions to enable our clients to make the best choices for their company. We recognise that this includes integrating sustainable solutions in our products and practices for a future of greener printing.

Balancing new technology, our clients’ needs and our drive for a greener future is a process we are taking step by step, consciously considering the long-term effect we have on our environment- something we have already made substantial advances on.

We’ve already made substantial changes to the way we work, including:

New recycled (and recyclable!) products

We have developed our Dragonfly fabric range which uses post-consumer, waste-recycled yarn. This new collection is available in frontlit display, blockout, flag and airmesh fabrics, making it easier to choose a green solution for your products.

Not only is this product an environmentally friendly alternative for your projects, but it is also created in a world-leading eco-friendly factory. Made in Europe, the supplier has gone above and beyond to make sure their practices are energy efficient, even introducing a tree-planting carbon offset programme. Many other green materials are sourced from large manufacturers in the far east who make unverifiable eco-friendly claims and increased logistical carbon footprint.

We’re so confident in our new Dragonfly fabric, we’re replacing old products with this version at no extra price as a step into making sustainable the new normal.

Be PVC-free

Some products that you would normally choose in a PVC material are now available completely PVC-free, including self-adhesive, semi-rigid and rigid substrate products as well as complete range of PVC-free banners in front lit, double-sided and mesh. These are the same high-quality you expect from XG, but designed with end-of-life disposal in mind.

PVC is notoriously harsh on the environment, being difficult to recycle. These PVC-free banner options are made from polyester scrim and PA water-based coating, which is biodegradable but also easy to recycle. If you’d like more information on PVC-free banners, visit our blog.

Smarter th-inking

We no longer use solvent-based inks, and our sublimation inks are certified to the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. You’ll find most of our work involves either dye sublimation printing or UV printing, which are two of the more eco-friendly print mediums available.

Both of these options are considerably more environmentally friendly than traditional methods of printing. Dye sub printing uses water-based inks cured by heat. This method of printing can only be used on polyester-based fabrics, which are recyclable and durable which naturally decreases their carbon footprint. In most cases we print directly to the fabric, eliminating the large amounts of paper waste generated by the more traditional dye-sub transfer process.

On the other hand, our UV printers can print to a wide range of rigid and flexible materials. Ink is almost totally VOC-free and is cured, in most cases, by highly energy efficient LED lamps which consume minimal energy and ensure no solvents are evaporated into the atmosphere. Compare both of these processes here.

Landfill? Land empty!

The print industry as a whole is working on improving the recyclability of its products. Working with our waste management partners, we can ensure that none of our waste ends up in landfill. Managing to recycle or reuse a large number of our products, anything that does go to waste is disposed of in an energy from waste centre. This method burns waste and uses the heat and steam to fuel homes and businesses. Read more about how energy from waste works.

Change starts here

As technology around sustainability changes, so do we. This is just the first step to a greener future at XG Group, you can expect much more to be coming up. In the meantime, if you have any queries regarding sustainability in the print industry contact us on 01280 707 180 or email sales@xg-group.co.uk.

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