POD and Personalization are GREEN!

By | March 1, 2010

How many digital printers think about marketing digital printing as green printing? Not just from a technology standpoint but also from an applications standpoint?

When you switch to database marketing — reducing your mailing by 90% by culling out only the top 10% of your database to personalize and mail to — you are also GREENING your print marketing at the same time! When you personalize a booklet, reducing a static 72-page booklet to a 16-page personalized one, you are greening your projects at the same time. Think about how much you help your clients lower their environmental footprints in terms of paper, ink, energy use, transportation . . . and the list goes on.

I just released a report titled “Greening Print Marketing: A Practical Guide” that has an entire section devoted to how digital print applications “green” print marketing. We’re used to looking at the case studies in terms of how they affect the bottom line (and rightly so), but many of those same applications have a green angle. Every time you cut costs through efficiency, targeting, and personalization, you save your carbon footprint, too.

I’m also fascinated by just how poor a carbon footprint e-media has. The more I learn about it, the greener print looks.

The digital printing industry really has an environmental story to tell. I wonder how well we’re telling it?

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3 thoughts on “POD and Personalization are GREEN!

  1. Pat Berger

    Heidi your quote “I’m also fascinated by just how poor a carbon footprint e-media has. The more I learn about it, the greener print looks.” is enlightening.

    The more your understanding e-media and its power requirements for every use print emerges as the winner for multiple uses and its carbon sequestering ability.

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Post author

    On the issue of the environmental impact of e-media, here’s a quote from the report based on an interview with Don Carli. This is really fascinating stuff:

    “Don Carli, senior research fellow with Institute for Sustainable Communication, also points out that while many people are concerned about deforestation, paper production and paper consumption are not the primary drivers. Globally, the primary drivers are agriculture and development.

    In the United States, a primary driver of deforestation is electrical energy demand and the use of mountaintop removal coal. According to Carli, 53 – 57% of all our electricity comes from coal power and 23% percent of all the coal comes from Appalachia and mountaintop removal.

    One of the fastest growing categories of coal-fired energy consumption is the energy consumed by data centers.

    “When the crews go in, they don’t even harvest the trees,” he says. “They often burn them or dump them so they can get the bulldozers and explosives crews in. Then they put enough high explosives to bring down a dozen federal buildings. They’ll blow off 80-100 feet of the mountain and where does it go? Into the valley. It’s called overburden. We have either blocked or irreversibly polluted over 1200 miles of headwater streams in Appalachia with overburden. When you fire up your computer and send an email, log into Facebook or Twitter, those activities are often deriving deforestation in the U.S. While paper and printing are in significant decline, energy consumption is metastasizing. Analysis by the EPA and DOE shows that between 2000 and 2006, U.S. data center energy consumption doubled from 30 billion kilowatt hours to over 60 billion kilowatt hours and that it is will have doubled again by 2010. The growth curve of consumption by IT that is nonlinear and unsustainable.”

    “Yet few look at the issue this way. This is unfortunate because electronic alternatives are often framed as the green alternative to print simply because they don’t require paper and ink.”


  3. Keith Bax

    Besides the obvious benefits inherent with personalization, digital printing offers several other environmental advantages. Most digital colorants are non-toxic, and VOC-free. Other consumables are recyclable, including fusing agents and developers, as well as the containers they come in.

    Power consumption for most digital printing devices compares favorably to offset presses, especially those with IR dryers.

    One of the potential downsides of digital printing is that de-inking digitally printed material for recycling purposes can be more problematic than de-inking offset printed materials.

    Unfortunately, there is no “perfect” process; but understanding the pros and cons of each, and making the best decision for each application is key.

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