Sunday, May 30, 2010

Green printing tip no. 47: Does green printing cost a lot more money?

We are back today with a new tip on our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you information on green printing in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today Greg is discussing the costs of green printing and is showing how going green with your next printing job doesn't necessary mean you should pay a hefty premium for it.

Does Green Printing Cost a Lot More Money?

Tip #47

This is the number one question people ask me about Environmental printing.

My response is NO, it does not cost more if you follow some basic Green Tips.

First: Analyze your job to see if it is an offset (soy inks) job, or a
digital job (100% non toxic toner). Both are terrific processes.

My rule of thumb is, whatever can fit on 500 sheets of 14 x 20 paper that we run digtally, in 4 color printing, is probably a digital job, based on cost.

What can fit on 500 sheets?

1. 4500 postcards, size 4.25 x 6
2. 10,000 business cards
3. 1000 fliers, 8.5 x 11
4. 2000 (4 panel) greeting cards if 4.5 x 6.25 when folded.

That is a pretty good start. After 500 sheets I will check both offset and digital pricing, up to 1000 sheets.

The reason digital is less money, up to 500 sheets, is there are no start up costs, like offset printing has. i.e. No plates, make ready, etc. At 500 sheets (break even point), the start up costs are amortised , and each sheet after that (break even point) is less money printed on an offset press.

Secondly: Accept a less white 100% PCW paper and you will save $1.00 per pound on the
paper. Run 500 pounds of paper on your job, and you have a $500-$600 savings on the paper.

Most people can't tell which paper is whiter, unless they put two grades next to each other. And, if you have solid coverage, you will never guess which is whiter.

Thirdly: Be flexible on selecting your final size for your print project. A classic example is Greeting Cards. In #4 above, I say we can get 2000 greeting cards, if you choose 4.5 x 6.25 as the final, folded size. The flat size is 9 x 6.25. We can fit (4) sheets of that size on a 14 x 20 sheet of paper that we will print on.

If , on the other hand, you go with the more common folded size, 5 x 7,
printed from the flat size, 10 x 7, we can only fit (2) sheets on our 14 x
20 sheet size. You would only get 1000 finished cards.

That is an "enormous" cost difference, and we would have to throw away a
huge amount of paper waste.

So, I have only listed 3 ways, to make being Green in your printing affordable. There are a lot more ways than that, but these are the easiest to do.

For additional information, please visit and You're also invited to contact Greg via email at

You can find links to all the tips at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing!