More environmentally friendly printing is emerging as a key industry trend for the 2020s. This trend is examined in detail in the Smithers report “The Future of Green Printing to 2026,”
Published in August 2021, the report profiles the evolution of circular economy principles, key legislative initiatives, the impact on analog and digital print processes, and all major print product segments (Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Advertising, Catalogs, Commercial, Security applications, Transactional print, Printed décor and textiles, Packaging, and Labels).
Smithers’ “Future of Green Printing to 2026” report examines the current state of green printing, shifting consumer attitudes, and the market shifts that ultimately provide the basis for the growth of green printing.
For example, brand owners and consumers are increasingly seeking and choosing solutions that minimize carbon emissions and waste. Print-service providers (PSPs), ink and media suppliers, and equipment manufacturers that invest in more sustainable solutions over the next five years are likely to be rewarded.
New Business Opportunities
The report examines specific opportunities that will evolve at each stage of the print value chain. For example:
Cutting waste in makeready and set-up will favor wider use of digital (inkjet and electrophotography) print systems. A forecast reduction in the average run length for many print jobs will magnify this impact
The rapid adoption of bio-based solvent and water-based inks will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.
Sales of sustainable substrates will increase, including recycled fiber and virgin paper grades from sustainably managed forests. For PSPs there is an onus to limit use of virgin materials and print on recycled paper grades when a premium surface is not necessary
Packaging designers will move away from the existing plastic packaging to fiber-based alternatives. Print-service providers can capitalize on this trend by retooling their print lines to support these less uniform substrates.
New fiber sources for printing papers will be studied, including bamboo or agricultural by-products.
Recycled plastic and biopolymer substrates will be used more widely in some packaging applications
Investments will rise in print processes that minimize the use of secondary raw materials, such as water consumption for wash off.
There will be greater support for technology platforms that enable the collection and reuse of print materials, both in industrial closed-loop and consumer recycling streams.
Reshoring production and printing will improve supply-chain security and reduce carbon emissions and wastage in transit.
Larger organizations can switch to centralized printing models, with a single server assigning job requests most efficiently across its network of presses and end-users. This can also extend into the integration of web-to-print platforms for consumer sales.
For more information, download a brochure from the Smithers website: The Future of Green Printing to 2026 | Market Reports & Research | Smithers
The Smithers Methodology
This report is based on extensive primary and secondary research. Primary research consisted of targeted interviews with printing material suppliers, converters and experts drawn from key markets. This was supported by secondary research in the form of extensive literature analysis of published data, official government statistics, domestic and international trade organization data, company websites, industry reports, trade press articles, presentations, and attendance at trade events.
Groups that can benefit from the information in this report include: print-business owners; suppliers of raw materials and consumables; manufacturers of printing machinery and equipment; print buyers; and consultants and analysts.
About the Author: David Zwang
Print and publishing consultant David Zwang has helped companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach for over 40 years. He specializes in process analysis, automation, engineering and strategic development for firms in the fields of publishing and packaging. He is currently the Chairman of the Ghent Workgroup (GWG), an international organization of graphic arts users, associations, and software developers that is building best practices for publishing and packaging workflows.