Can The Printing Industry be Carbon Neutral?

The climate crisis requires our attention more than ever. The need to reduce carbon emissions has become critical and, in the UK at least, businesses have been tasked by the government with creating a carbon-neutral economy. The UK’s latest Carbon Budget commits us all to net-zero by 2050. How can the printing industry contribute? This blog explores some basic ideas.

Energy Supply: Many of us are choosing to source energy from renewable, carbon-free sources. Most of the Big Six energy companies – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – have tariffs that offer this to business customers. 

Revolution has joined many businesses in going further. We have installed our own renewable energy solar panels and invested in electric vehicles.  These are steps we can all take.

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Paper Materials: The printing industry is dependent on paper, board and similar materials. Recent studies have shown making paper can use as much energy, tonne for tonne, as forging steel. The good news is there are opportunities to reduce that figure by adopting electric and biomass boilers and using heat exchange and recovery systems in the papermaking process. The industry already has a good track record when it comes to recycling, but more could be done. The need to import paper to the UK adds to carbon through transportation too. At Revolution, we are working closely with the suppliers of all our materials to ensure that carbon emission rates continue to fall overall.

Plastics: Much of the carbon released in the atmosphere comes from the chemical and plastics industry. It has become a priority of the climate change movement to reduce its use. Part of the printing industry’s response to the climate crisis is to actively look for more natural, lower carbon alternatives to PVC and other plastic banners, signage and graphics.

Imports & Exports: Raw materials across our industry are shipped across the globe having an obvious impact on the carbon emitted by planes, trains and road haulage. some scientists have projected that maritime shipping could account for as much as 17% of total annual CO2 emissions by 2050. This illustrates that a concerted effort from our sector to invest in local supply chains could make a significant change moving forward.

The management team at Revolution have committed to a carbon-neutral future. We will work hard to have a positive impact on the issues we’ve highlighted above. We would love to engage with our suppliers and customers in more depth to ensure we make a real difference. Contact us if you’d like to talk further.