Recycling and re-using roller banners:
Every single day of our lives, we come in contact with at least one product from the printing industry. It can be a napkin, a paper, a flyer, an envelope, food wrappers, a book, and the list may continue forever. The printing industry has been around for a few decades now, and it has helped the other sectors and the economy, in general, grow more than we can imagine. From finances to marketing, every single aspect of the economic system as we know it is using products that come from the printing industry.
That sounds amazing, right? Well, as much as it is a robust industry that grows, helps, and contributes to the economy, the printing industry is also one of the main contributors in the negative state of the environment, as we know today. Like many other industries, there is a considerable increase in productivity on one side, but there is also an environmental price to pay.
Some environmental issued regarding the printing industry:
Energy use: the majority of the energy used for working in the printing industry comes from the burning of fossil fuel.
Air pollution: the print industry takes part in the air pollution problems by releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the ink, the cleaning process of the ink, and the fountain solution used in lithographic printing.
Disposing of hazardous materials: photographic chemical wastes and solvent wastes, which both come from the print industry, represent a risk not only of global warming but also a risk of poisoning and death of nature, because of the toxins that may come in contact with plants, animals and groundwater.
Waste management: when not done correctly, the discarding, re-use, and recycling of paper, inks, pallets, and plates can cause issues for the environment. The wasting of writing contributes to deforestation, and by not re-using it, the amount of paper that is not adequately disposed of rots, and produces highly toxic methane gas.
We mentioned all of this because we highly believe in environmentally-friendly business and responsible consumer behaviour. It has been around for quite some time, and it’s seen as an “option” and sometimes as a “trend,” but we think otherwise. It is now a responsibility for all the industries and customers to make more environmentally responsible decisions about the way we produce and consume products.
Even when the print industry does a lot of harm to the environment, it has also proven that things can be done better. Technology has led us to a new era of consciousness, in which we can rely on to work, produce, re-use, and recycle more than we think. Many industries are now working on more efficient ways to deliver their goods, and at the same time, reducing their carbon footprint and their negative impact on the ecosystem.
The print industry is now doing some of this work, too, with initiatives like Cartridges Direct, which has partnered with “Cartridges 4 Planet Ark”, and they ensure used cartridges are returned once they have been used. Some other companies have been working for a while on producing inks and cartridges more “eco-friendly,” so that less harming chemicals are going to be released in the environment.
And this all sounds great, we know it. But we also understand that some people think this only is only responsible for big industries and companies, and it is not. The environmentally-responsible decisions concern every single one of us, from an average citizen to a huge corporation, we all have to make something to save our planet.
You, as a consumer, have the power and the responsibility of making a change in the world. Every decision you make as a customer has an impact on the environment, so you choose to help or to harm. We want to present you with an alternative that also involves the print industry. This has been around for a few years, but the benefits of this will keep on forever. Recycling and re-using marketing tools are just one of the many ways in which you can contribute to a more environmentally-friendly industry.
Marketing tools are one of the leading products the print industry produces, and they are an effective way of gaining the public and making people know about products, promotions, sales, and events. They have proven to be extremely useful. But there is a little issue regarding many printed marketing tools; they are mainly a one-time promotion or a single-use product. You can not imagine how much that harms the environment.
Let’s talk about banners for a second; rolling banners are powerful marketing tools that have been used for a long time, usually at events and conferences. They have your message printed on a large canvas, and it is attached to a metal base. The canvas is often vinyl, which is catalogued as “the most toxic plastic for our health and the environment” because its production releases dangerous pollutants including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, mercury, dioxins and furans, and PCBs.
So, you can guess the problem here, everything is excellent regarding the use and the marketing impact of roller banners, but when we speak about environmental implications, things get wrong. Many customers don’t know about this, and they simply order and pay for a roller banner, without knowing the consequences of its production. And even when roller banners can be used in many different events, when you have to dispose of them, just putting them on the trash bin is not the most responsible option.
But don’t worry, there are a few things that you can do and a lot of options that are coming from the same people who sell the banners. As we mentioned before, being an environmentally-friendly business is now a responsibility, and there are many places in the UK where that is taken very seriously.
Let’s talk about two magic words: re-using and recycling.
What is re-using?
Re-using refers to the use of one product without changing or repurposing the materials, but the object itself. You don’t process or treat the item, and you simply find a new way of using it, even though some reparations can be performed.
What is recycling?
Recycling an object implies the treatment of the purpose, so you obtain raw materials that can be used to make something new. Recycling can reduce waste disposal because you are transforming unused things into usable materials. But this is an energy-consuming process, which means that even though it is part of a sustainable solution, it is also expensive, and sometimes it is also challenging.
And now that we know the differences between re-using and recycling, we are going to show you some examples of how companies are doing it, mostly for you to consider this as an option for the next time you order something from the printing industry.
How do companies recycle roller banners?
There are many ways in which companies are recycling and re-using roller banners, so we gathered a list of only a few of how it is being done in the UK:
Companies that offer a graphic only / replacement graphic option:
which lets their clients replace the graphics of their banner in the most eco-friendly way, and it also enables people to keep using the banner stand, even if the banner is not originally from that company.
Companies that have a banner recycling scheme: some companies have already started selling eco-friendly products, like recycled-paper flyers and eco-friendly roller banners. But the recycling process is a little bit complicated, so a regular customer is not able to perform it by himself. That is why many companies have implemented a recycling scheme for both eco-friendly and non-ecofriendly products.
The recycling scheme has four stages:
Dismantling: The stands are separated into their essential components; the metal stand and the graphics.
Sorting: The aluminium from the stand is sent to a processing mill where it will be melted down and re-used. The graphics are sent to a specialist recycling plant where it meets stage three.
Shredding: The graphics are carefully shredded into tiny pieces that make the base for stage four.
Repurposing: The shreds are made into new products, such as traffic cones, Harris fencing bases, and horse-riding arena bases.
One of the best things that come from this process, apart from the whole recycling, is that companies work hard to let people know and get interested in this. Some companies allow you to recycle roller banners even if you didn’t purchase it from them, and others offer a discount coupon for every roller banner you provide to the recycling process.
Companies that produce fully recyclable roller banners:
The fully recyclable roller banners are entirely cost-effective because they can be used again and again if they are treated carefully.
The base is constructed with cardboard, the display is entirely paper-based, and the printing is done with a Vegan accredited process. This makes a roller banner that is also a fully compostable item.
This banner also has a lining of seed on its base, so people can burrow the banner once it’s used, and with the help of the cardboard composting, the seeds will start to hatch, and just in a matter of months, the customer will have a lovely garden of flowers.
These are just some examples of the initiatives that brave company owners have made to make the print industry a more environmentally-responsible business. But we know these may not be available everywhere, so we also have a few ideas on how you can re-use a roller banner if you don’t see any company that works with these initiatives:
Vinyl is a very resistant and waterproof material, so you can use and old banner to catch some mess, if you have kids, for example, you can use the back of it as a playing mat or an art mat. If you don’t have kids, you can offer it to a school so those kids can messily play on it.
Use it as a waterproof picnic mat.
Keep it in your car for when you have muddy shoes, and you can also use it the same way in your house.
Turn it into a waterslide for summer.
Use the back of it to design and paint your celebration banner.
Look on the internet for many more ideas, the more creative, the better!
Recycling and re-using, even the smallest things, is highly essential for the environment and the future of our species. Still, if you are not fully convinced yet overall these eco-friendly alternatives, we will mention a few reasons why you should consider recycling in your business:
Save money: on roller banners, most of the cost goes on the hardware, so if you only replace the printed part, you are saving the most expensive portion.
Reduce landfill: only in the UK, more than one million banner stands are produced every year, and as many of them are just a single-used product, that means at least five hundred tons of PVC graphics end up polluting landfills. Do you think it is necessary to pay for new banners every single time?
We can understand that all of this sustainable lifestyle and environmentally-friendly trends are kind of difficult to understand, but it is something essential. The amount of waste, pollution, and harm we do to our planet is costing us years and quality of life. By just changing a few habits, we can make a huge difference, and now that many industries are taking this topic seriously, we can only become a responsible consumer. The print industry is highly harmful to the environment, but things are finally starting to change.
The next time you think about buying a roller banner for your company, think about the eco-friendlier options that are now on the market. It will surprise you how many companies are getting more and more products and ways to reduce their environmental impact. Simply ask the experts, and you will receive the best options for you, your business, your money, and, most importantly, for the planet.