Austin Signs | Going Green, How Far Can You Go?

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Green is in; growing the eco-friendly side of the sign and promotional products business depends on several factors: what products your business sells, your clients’ commitment to the environment, and overcoming the cost premium of green products.

Solvent based inks are popular in the sign industry because of their durability and image quality. Recently, new technology has brought the sign business alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of solvent released chemicals to help reduce ozone pollution. Ink options include UltraChrome GS solvent ink which is nickel-free and has fewer harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), low-solvent based ink, and UV-curable ink.  Another “green” alternative to solvent ink is aqueous ink EPA-Recognized Environmentally Friendly Solvent Ink.  Many of these new ink alternatives are earth friendly and some even cost less than ordinary solvent inks while continuing to provide the vibrant rich color of the solvent based products.

Recycling is another are where sign businesses can have a positive environmental impact.  It is estimated that 1.5 billion pounds of PVC banner materials were deposited in landfills in 2009. Some alternatives are High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a lightweight material which is 100% recyclable and has a 1 year outdoor life. Tyvek Banner Media is highly durable has great opacity, high mechanical tear strength, and provides high impact color graphic art, perfect for short-term advertising posters and maps and it is recyclable. Heavy Textile Banner material is a woven polyester media, has a smooth surface providing excellent handle-ability, it is stitchable, has high image quality, and scratch and tear resistant. This (B-1) fire-resistant media is certified for banner or draped indoor use, such as a window displays, and is reliable for outdoor use. Wrinkle free fabric flag material is 100% polyester ensuring faster processing and easier installation, saving you money. This material is fire-resistant (B-1) and recyclable.   In the future, we will see recyclable material for self-adhesives, films, mesh banners and backlit scrim banners.

Planet Partners Program can help recycle sign materials and turn them into materials for such things as Playground Equipment.

Eco-friendly promotional products are available that are biodegradable, energy efficient, organic, recyclable and sustainable. These items range from notepads, totes, cups, bamboo business card holders, bamboo pen holders, eco-apparel of organic cotton, natural soybean and bamboo fiber and recycled polyester and fleece. Using these items will help brand companies as “eco-friendly”.

One way that 360 Signs minimized the environmental impact when we started our business was that we used sustainable products, used furniture, removed old carpet but opted not to replace it but seal our concrete floors with low VOC coating. We’ve used old wood doors as countertops in our kitchen area instead of adding them to a landfill. We purchased recyclable stainless steel cabinets and legs. Our employees’ help with an in-house re-cycling program including paper, glass, plastics, cardboard and cans. We take every opportunity possible to lessen our energy impact.

Take time to think how you can make an impact and save resources where you can in your company; start by setting an example.

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