Ecological printing: E-catalogue V.s paper catalogue ? Which medium is the least polluting for our planet?

These are issues that today require us to change our ways of consuming. The printing sector is not to be outdone! More and more professional printers are taking initiatives to become more eco-responsible in the way they handle printing and are recommending certain measures to their customers to optimise the printing of their catalogues.
With the advent of the Internet, some companies are choosing to dematerialise all their publications. However, this practice is now being called into question. Printteam will try to answer you on the particular case of the catalogue: E-catalogue or paper catalogue, which pollutes the least?

Printing an eco-responsible catalogue is possible!

The paper catalogue is in a way the showcase of a company. Indeed, we find all the offers, all the products, all the services that a company offers to its customers and prospects. This commercial or institutional brochure is all the more important as it also conveys the company’s identity and transmits its values.

The advantages of printing a paper catalogue

A quality support to keep for a long time

It is essential that the catalogue is printed in a qualitative manner, as this is usually a support that companies produce once or twice a year. By qualitative, we mean that the medium must be durable, well thought out and adapted to its use, while being original to attract and retain the attention of prospects. This is why Printteam recommends that, when printing brochures or catalogues, its customers choose a quality ecological paper for the inside pages to enhance the appearance of the products, and a suitable finishing such as a laminated cardboard cover or a binding in metal point, glued square back or spiral binding (wire’o).

Besides, it is clear that paper is worth a thousand hard disks! In the long run, it is safer to archive a paper catalogue than to store data on a disk that requires power each time it is consulted and is at risk of being hacked, deleted or broken down.

Practical and pleasant to read

Several studies have shown that it is ergonomically more enjoyable to read a brochure, catalogue or book on paper rather than on a screen. The printed images and the feel of the paper make the paper catalogue closer to your image and the overall view of the information clearer for your Customer. At Printteam, we make it a point of honour to always try to optimise the number of pages and the weight of the catalogues so that they remain more user-friendly than a computer.

There is such a thing as ecological printing!

In recent years, more and more professional printers like Printteam have been turning to methods that generate less environmental impact. This involves grouping (amalgamating) several covers on the same wedge in order to reduce the number of aluminium plates and the number of sheets lost during colour density setting, using machines that consume less energy such as the LED UV printing press, having paper produced in an optimised format or recommending standard formats to limit paper waste to the strict technical minimum, using paper that complies with FSC, PEFC and recycled environmental standards.

The limits to printing the paper catalogue

The printing and production of catalogues or other communication media requires steps that have an impact on the ecology. Every year, we are talking about more than twenty million trees cut down to produce paper, not to mention the use of inks and varnishes that are said to be toxic for the environment, and the release of CO2 due to the energy used to bleach, print and transport the paper. Nevertheless, printers and paper industries are looking for alternatives to reduce their impact on the environment. We will see this in an upcoming Printteam news item.

Furthermore, when we analyse the life cycle of paper and digital data storage equipment, we find that recycling paper is much more environmentally friendly than the end-of-life of electronic components. So we could ask ourselves the question, is it really legitimate to privilege the digital e-catalogue over the ancestral but nevertheless contemporary paper catalogue?

Is the e-catalogue really the eco-responsible alternative to the paper catalogue? The advantages of the e-catalogue

The e-catalogue: “unlimited” version support

Unlike the paper catalogue, the e-catalogue can be sent endlessly by email. Thus for commercial prospecting, it can be interesting to use it for mass mailing, as it is less expensive for a company to launch an e-mailing campaign with the e-catalogue as an attachment rather than sending the paper catalogue by post.

But is this really the most relevant method for reaching your target audience?

The e-catalogue: can be consulted anywhere and at any time
An e-catalogue can be consulted anywhere and at any time from a simple internet connection. It is also easier to search a catalogue in a digital version than in a paper version.

The limits of the e-catalogue

Commercial efficiency?

As mentioned earlier, sending your e-catalogue digitally or routing your paper catalogue by post certainly does not have the same cost, but the commercial efficiency will not be the same either.

Several reports have shown that during the prospection phase, a paper catalogue will have a commercial impact 3 to 4 times greater than that of an e-catalogue.

More energy consumption than paper

You may not realise it yet, but every time you open your e-catalogue, download, store or even send it by email, you consume energy. Unlike the paper catalogue, which, once printed, can be consulted an unlimited number of times without any additional impact on the environment.

Digital is not so dematerialised

As mentioned above, digital technology requires electronic components that require the use of energy throughout their lifecycle (manufacture and use) and are highly polluting at the end of their life cycle.

It is therefore clear today that we have the wrong idea about dematerialisation vs. paper: the e-catalogue is no more environmentally friendly than the paper catalogue!

In addition to the difficulty of recycling electronic equipment, the trend towards hyperconsumption and programmed obsolescence leads us to change our electronic devices on average every 18 months. Despite the efforts of manufacturers to develop more efficient devices, the steps taken to recycle responsibly are still very limited compared to paper.

Printteam prints your paper catalogue in a sustainable development approach.

At Printteam, we support our customers in an eco-responsible approach. We recommend the use of papers certified to FSC and PEFC ecological standards. We recommend choosing standard formats or anticipating orders in order to have time to have custom-made paper produced, so as to limit paper waste to technical requirements.

As far as possible, we favour the use of vegetable-based inks and short runs. We study, propose and organise the pooling of files in production, which is beneficial for our Planet (reduction in the quantity of consumables) and beneficial for our Clients (budget reduction).

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