Vendors tout the benefits of eco-friendly, but users that experience what the inks can really do are a primary resource.
Signs by Tomorrow, based in Chesapeake, VA purchased Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) Designjet L65500 to replace a solvent-based HP Designjet 9000s to reposition the shop as an eco-friendly business.
Lacy Kuller, co-owner, Signs By Tomorrow says the adoption of the latex technology and a media recycling program was not simply to position the company as a "green" supplier, but out of a personal commitment to the environment. "We have a variety of environmental initiatives, both internally and with the products we offer."
Although, there are some extra costs associated with eco-friendly printing, she’s found they’re mostly associated with the media, not the ink. In this tough economic climate, Kuller meets customers halfway on the costs. "We try to meet in the middle. We don’t want to pass on quite as much cost to our customers. We’ve done some compromising," she admits.
That said, the increased capabilities and print quality of the new Designjet printer allowed the company to capture new business as well as boost the bottom line. "We can do more in house now," Kuller observes. In addition to printing on vinyl and PVC banner material, the company also offers Tyvek banner and recyclable fabric for trade show displays.
Other print providers, such as Ken Kubalik, owner, Sign Here, based in Nashville, TN do not intentionally set out to go green. Instead, they find a system’s eco-friendliness to be an added bonus. Kubalik invested in the Mutoh America, Inc. ValueJet 1608 for its competitive price and print flexibility. "Honestly, the environmental impact wasn’t the main driver for me," Kubalik says. Since purchasing the ValueJet 1608, however, the company has begun to emphasize some of its greener qualities, touting its use of bio-friendly inks on its Web site.
"A lot of it has to do with educating your customers on the benefits of environmentally friendly ink," he says. "And it’s a learning curve for us, finding the right media."
Both Kuller and Kubalik offer opposing views on the future of green inks. "I don’t think environmental concerns are a passing thing," says Kuller. "If they are, we’re going to be in trouble."
"I honestly don’t see it having a huge impact on my business," admits Kubalik. He adds, that it is definitely a market factor, just not one that hits all print shops equally.
For more information on eco-friendly inks look in our October issue!