Offset printing is the leading method of production for most paper goods in our everyday surroundings.Compared with other methods, offset is most ideal for balancing cost, larger quantities, and quality results. And given its versatility, it’s the first choice for printing with specialty inks such as Pantone or metallic colors, and on a variety of papers. While the results are often most impressive, they do call for significant time and setup costs, requiring suggested minimums to help justify the cost of production. Depending on the size and scope of the project, minimums can start at 500 or 1,000 copies, while others can start at 5,000 or 10,000. Offset printing is ideal if you are looking for both quality and quantity. Feel free to consult with us and we’ll be more than happy to help you make the best decision for your project.
Digital printing makes things faster and easier for the printer, because it allows us to forego expensive printing plates and the messy lithographic techniques of wet inks and complicated chemistry. Since we can focus our energy on tweaking color and calibration, rather than on cleaning up wet inks, we can print more jobs in a short amount of time – which allows us to print smaller runs, at lower costs, which helps you get what you want faster and cheaper. The environmental benefits of digital printing compared to offset are myriad. By skipping printing plates and wet inks, digital printing eliminates the countless number of peripheral cleaning agents and solvents needed to maintain the daily operation of an offset press. This alone can remove tons of metals and thousands of gallons of chemicals from the waste stream each year.
The energy consumption of a digital press is considerably less than its counterpart, drawing less power from the grid. Our electricity bill is all the proof we need to know we’re doing the right thing. And with finer controls over color and precision, the amount of paper spoiled for makeready is as low as 2% of what was needed for offset – a 98% reduction in paper waste. When we save, you save. It’s as simple as that.
At Rolling Press, we always offer a selection of premium-quality, responsible papers which incorporate a variety of features of sustainability and performance. All of the papers we have chosen were selected because they have a combination of most of these criteria: they are managed by strict international forestry programs, made with recycled fibers, processed without chlorine, manufactured with renewable energy, and made carbon neutral. Are all of the papers we recommend 100% recycled? No, but not all 100% recycled papers can accommodate the demands of all projects. Instead, certified papers offer a great solution for specific demands and sustainable forestry practices. Having most of our papers processed chlorine-free is a benefit that should not be overlooked. Bleaching papers using chlorine can yield extremely toxic by-products such as dioxins. Dioxins are recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the “Dirty Dozen,” a group of dangerous chemicals known to be persistent organic pollutants. They are often described as one of the most dangerous poisons known to public health, causing cancer and other diseases. And because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, the higher one goes up the animal food chain, the higher the concentration of dioxins to be found. Our selection represents an excellent balance of responsibility, performance, aesthetics, and affordability. And what sets us apart from many others is that we regularly carry these specialty papers, which means you don’t need to pay a premium to get them. You can rest easy in knowing that whichever of our papers you choose to print on, its been heavily vetted with an eye towards excellent performance on press as well as environmental responsibility.
While the use of vegetable-based inks is certainly preferable for offset printing, our digital presses use non-toxic dry inks rather than liquid inks (which require supportive chemicals and solvents). Dry toner inks are fine powders which are designed to be safe and non-toxic, following strict emissions standards, and which do not produce hazardous waste. Since toners are a dry ink, they do not get absorbed into the fibers of paper. They are fused onto the surface, which has the added benefit of maintaining vibrant colors when printed on uncoated papers, unlike offset inks which are absorbed and may become muted. And because the inks are fused, not absorbed, dry toners are easily de-inked and recycled without energy intensive methods.
Though soy-based inks are a better choice than petroleum-based inks, we have found an even better option in vegetable-based inks. Vegetable-based inks are made from mostly linseed or flaxseed oil. Linseed is a far easier crop to maintain and harvest than soy, as it requires less water and land. Decreasing our dependence on a single crop with an overwhelming demand like soy also helps lessen the impact of any future epidemic crop disease. Both soy-based and vegetable-based inks allow papers to be recycled more easily during the de-inking process due to their higher oil-to-pigment ratio. And, because they allow us to print more vibrant colors, we can use about 15% less ink than petroleum-based inks. Equally as important is the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) removed from our inks. VOCs are chemical vapors that evaporate during the drying process and become greenhouse gases, contributing to air pollution and climate change. While most standard inks contain up to 30% VOCs, our inks average below 2%. What about print quality and matching Pantone colors? Not a problem. Our printed results look no different than any other quality print house. We take pride in offering a genuinely great product that just happens to be environmentally-friendly.