Practicing what IT preachesFor OTW Imaging sustainability is crucial to ethical business practice. Now it has set up ECOTW, a new eco-friendly division to provide greener print. Here’s why…
OTW imaging, which has 13 full time staff, a turnover in excess of £1 million and specialises in all forms of large-format digital print and display solutions, projects growth of 15% in the next twelve months and the spring launch an eco-friendly division is seen as key to development. The intention is for the new, and aptly named, ECOTW to provide environmentally friendly, ethical, low impact large-format printing that has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional print methods, while maintaining the same high quality standard synonymous to the OTW brand.
The eco-division will offer greener alternatives to all products, including; a water-based alternative to chemical inks, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved paper produced from sustainable resources; recyclable or biodegradable banners and compostable bubblewrap, card and paper tape. The machines used by ECOTW, (the HPL65500 latex printer) are award winning in terms of eco-friendliness, with more than 85% of the printer’s structure suitable for recycling.
Sounds great, but why make this move now, when so many are still pushing ‘green’ issues to the back of their strategic planning lists? OTW Imaging managing director, Darren Marsh, explains: “OTW has held its ISO 14001 accreditation since 2007, showing its commitment to a sustainable future and we strongly believe that to make a real difference it takes more than sorting your rubbish into a recycling bin or fitting energy saving light bulbs. All the paper we use throughout OTW Imaging is from managed forests, our bubblewrap is completely biodegradable and since autumn 2010, we only operate solvent-free printers. We also carefully restrict the emissions levels on our company vehicle options.
"ECOTW is the natural extension of this process. We wanted to offer our customers viable choices when it comes to improving their eco credentials, whether they are ordering posters, roller banners or boards, in the same way that FSC approved paper is now a recognised standard amongst a wide business audience. It offers our customers practical solutions for taking small steps to lowering their eco footprint with their print choices. As a company we take our responsibility to help reduce the impact of our print on the environment very seriously and our vision is that ECOTW will gradually become our core business, offering sustainable products at affordable costs.”
March adds: "Some have questioned our decision to launch an eco division now, when the economic climate is still so tough for so many and due to the continued recovery of R&D costs and lower volume requirements, that there is still a cost differential for some products. We know however, that there is the demand there for a wide range of eco products - for example, from larger retailers who have strict carbon reduction targets. In fact there is a percentage of the market - both small and large businesses in the majority of industry sectors - that either want, or are required to, demonstrate their commitment to reducing their impact on the environment and therefore demand the types of product we are offering via ECOTW.
“Some of the eco products are already very competitive against their traditional comparatives. For example, we offer a bamboo roller banner with a natural fibre substrate that is not only very visually appealing, but is also comes in at a similar price against a quality standard banner.
"Offering ‘green’ and sustainable print is a long term strategy. With inevitable developments in legislation, an ever increasing population and the planet's finite resources, we believe that at some point it will be necessary for every printer to both make the move to radically change their production methods and to offer their customers environmentally friendly print options. By launching ECOTW now, we will be well prepared to take advantage of this market as it evolves further. In our view the demand for eco products will only increase."