B2B Marketing Expo California logo

April 6 & 7 2022

LA Convention Center

Print, Paper and the Environment

The environmental impact and sustainability of printing are measured in many ways.

It is true; commercial printers have an impact on the environment and we, as a print provider,  are committed to ensuring our environmental policies and procedures are continually maintained and monitored. There is no better way of seeing them in action than visiting one of our print sites, but there are many factors to take into account.

Prepress and Planning - Right from the planning stages, considering all aspects - from design to print through to distribution - is important. For example, black can be layered up, by using cyan, magenta, yellow and key, but using only key will reduce the amount of ink that is used in the printing process.  By confirming distribution and ensuring your print orders are accurate, you can reduce wastage, and taking alternative formats and finished sizes into account may impact cost as well as wastage. Ask your provider where they source their paper, and whether alternative options are available when it comes to format, size and wastage.

Paper sourcing, sustainable forestry and recycling - Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material.  Consumers often feel that recycled paper is the ‘best option’, but

without new fibres, from new trees, the paper cycle cannot be maintained, as recycled fibres degrade after several uses.  It is hard to directly compare recycled fibre with virgin fibre, as both are fundamental to the paper making process.

There are many schemes in place to ensure paper is sourced from sustainable forestry, including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

Recycled paper can be used in some grades more than others - such as our standard grades, like 40gsm.  Virgin fibres are used in our improved stocks for a whiter, brighter appearance, including 54gsm SCA or 70gsm woodfree. When buying paper, ensure that it is made with wood from sustainably managed forests or recycled content.  When buying in glossy covers for our magazines, we ensure that all our suppliers also source their paper responsibly.

Developments in technology - Technology has evolved hugely over the last decade, allowing for web presses to achieve good copy very quickly. This means print orders of just 1000 copies are now possible for us, using a number of methods, such as: presets that recognise returning customer settings, and sensors on the presses that monitor colour, the fold and alignment.

Waste Management & Recycling - Throughout the production process, you will see recycling practices in place: starting in the plate room, which sees the plates used on the presses being recycled after use, through to the trim waste at the end of the production process.  We work with our clients to suggest a trim size that reduces wastage and also maximises cost efficiency - like our Maxi or Compact Magazine formats.

Distribution of printing products - The decision on how and where the printed product will be distributed is vitally important. We offer print and insert advertising campaigns, where the insert is printed with us and inserted into our national or regional titles (also printed with us, at our sites), thus reducing the need for delivery.  Or, where possible, we always share vehicles, which not only reduces environmental impact, but also cost and lead-time.

Environmental issues have and will continue to be top of our agenda, and the industry continues to make progress. The ISO provides a framework of environmental management systems - in fact, our print sites* are ISO 14001 certified - which we use to optimise the resources we use, control costs and minimise the handling of general waste.

Marketers need to work closely with their chosen providers to ensure that format, paperstock and distribution model are considered from the start of the planning stages.

The impact that print-on-paper has on the consumer is second to none and, whilst digital media offers opportunities that previously didn’t exist, print is and will continue to remain an essential part of the marketing mix that offers great return and is environmentally sustainable.



Reach Printing Services (RPS) is the manufacturing arm of Reach plc, formerly known as Trinity Mirror plc.  With six print sites, conveniently located throughout the UK, RPS offers print solutions for both internal and contract clients.  Internal clients include titles, including Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, Manchester Evening News and South Wales Echo.  Contract clients include a mixture of independent publishers, retailers, brands, councils, universities and businesses.  Some of the contract clients we work with include The Guardian, Smyths Toys, Oxford University, Argos and Haringey Council.

For further information contact:

Tia Dickenson

Business Development Executive

01923 815073 / 07770 543615

Jackie Raymond

Production Administrator

020 7293 3948 / 01923 815080