Biodegradable graphics can paySo says Scott King, sales director at newly relocated Service Graphics
“Major companies within our client base, like Marks and Spencer, BSkyB and EDF Energy, put a huge focus on ensuring that our production methods are as environmentally friendly as possible. The clients understand that the current base costs are slightly greater for this option, but costs have fallen markedly over the last few years and will continue to do so. There is no doubt that tougher economic times have meant that budget is key, but with supplier partnerships it is possible to offer the alternative without escalating costs.”
For Service Graphics, providing a higher quality, more environmentally friendly product, at a quicker speed is at the forefront of all investment in new technology. This is driven by demands from its existing client base and the company’s target market for business development. “The supply of ‘green graphics’ forms a growing part of turnover and the provision of sustainable production methods is the key to Service Graphics’ growth plan. In the last six months Service Graphics has invested over £800,000 in new printing equipment using UV-cured or dye-sublimated inks - the most sustainable method of production - and investment in this area is planned to continue at pace over the next few years,” points out King.
“We are constantly implementing new methods to be more sustainable in our production. We have an active policy currently to remove solvent inks from our grand-format range of printers and using UV-cured inks instead. This has reduced emissions of organic solvent into the environment by over 90%. With UV technology, printing direct to sustainable material is no longer a pipe-dream, but a realistic option.
“Dye-sublimation printing has also had a huge effect, not only with improvements in quality and vibrancy in the graphic, but also by offering a fabric that can be readily recycled or used to construct other products. In time there is no doubt this will see the end of the use of PVC banner as further materials become available at a commercially acceptable cost.”
King sees that working in conjunction with material manufacturers means that new materials will be constantly brought to market at a fair cost, with the benefits clearly outlined to the client.
“We can print direct to substrate and use European sourced and manufactured composite panels that have less impact on the environment than similar Asian manufactured substrates. The supply chain is happy to recycle used graphics or unused materials.
“There is also pressure to ensure display systems are more environmentally friendly. This has led to the use of bamboo products derived from sustainable plantations and an increasing use of cardboard displays that can be reused/recycled.
“Our efforts to reduce environmental impact will continue and we predict that within 12 months there will be no difference in the cost of the environmentally friendly graphics that we provide. Investment in marketing these products will be made to ensure that the wider audience is fully aware of their availability.”
King has no doubt that this market focus will continue and sustainability is now a huge part within any print or graphic tender. “Investment and awareness is the only way to ensure that you are at the forefront,” he says.
In February, Service Graphics moved to a new production supersite in Chessington. At 4,274m2, it’s the largest graphic site in Europe and offers state of the art production processes. The move has not only increased production efficiency and capacity, but also allows for a far more efficient footprint.
“Service Graphics has been a holder of a key credential ISO 14001 for the last three years. The Chessington site ensures that we can recycle packaging materials and material waste far more effectively. The floorplan of the site and the technology within in it has put Service Graphics in a position of leading the market for ‘green graphics’.”