As designers our role is to produce communication that effectively and succinctly promotes our clients' products or services in a manner that is effective and visually exciting. But each design does not only promote a service or product. It also speaks of an ethos. Part of that ethos is an attitude to the environment.
At de.co we believe that we should set an example in all our work by using materials that place as little burden on the ecosystem as possible. We have many clients who already make production decisions based primarily on sustainability. We support our cllients by offering a range of options and providing infornmation to assist and justify these decisions.
Paper in one form or another has been an integral part of communication for thousands of years. Initially a resource available only to the very wealthy the spread of literacy and the development of economical methods of paper production lead to rapid growth in its use. The development of the printing press pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450 commenced the explosion of the printed word and turned paper from a luxury to a commodity.
Today we stand at another pivotal point in paper's role in society. With the growth of electronic communications, individuals and organisations are constantly assessing the value of printed communication in their lives.
At de.co we believe that paper will always offer benefits over the electronic alternative. A printed sheet is a tangible, tactile link between the reader and the message. The paper and the processes that have been used to apply that message to the sheet, tell an additional story of intent that pixels can't express.
However, in exploiting these benefits, we believe the communicator has an obligation to use the resources involved responsibly. Even with the advent of electronic communications mankind has become a voracious user of paper pulp.
We recommend the use of paper that has been produced with as little impact on the environment as possible. This may mean 100% recycled paper or it may mean paper produced from alternative sources. The important message is, 'know your impact'.
For each project we will recommend the most appropriate paper with consideration given to paper style and quality but with emphasis on sustainability.
To help in informing our clients about the various issues when specifying paper, we have added a list of paper certification labels and some links to information sources relating to sustainable sources of paper.
COMMON PAPER CERTIFICATION SCHEMES AND LABELS
ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free)
Processed using Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) Pulps. Replaces elemental chlorine with chlorine dioxide in the bleaching process.
The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.
Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship council (FSC) is a certified tracking system that tracks the path taken by the raw material to the consumer.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management System
As with other ISO 14000 standards, ISO 14001 is voluntary (IISD 2010), with its main aim to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance, whilst complying with any applicable legislation. Organisations are responsible for setting their own targets and performance measures which ultimately means that two organisations that have completely different measures and standards of environmental performance, can both comply with ISO 14001 requirements.
PCF (Processed Chlorine Free)
Contains recycled content produced without elemental chlorine or chlorine derivatives, although one or more fibre components may have originally been bleached with chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Any virgin pulp is TCF.
TCF (Totally Chlorine-free)
Virgin paper produced without chlorine or chlorine derivatives (the bleaching process uses oxygen-based compounds).
Plastic, as we know, is an extremely useful product. But unfortunately, like many 'cool' things that we humans devise, plastic has a big downside. Plastic damages our ecosystem and we are exposed to the toxins from plastic on a daily basis.
Of course many plastics can be recycled and we support recycling wholeheartedly. But compared to the huge amount produced each year, plastic recycling is minimal and unfortunately plastics are often bonded with other materials that discounts recycling.
The best way to reduce the impact of plastic is to avoid using it at all and we will recommend alternatives to plastic products if they are available.
Where a plastic alternative is unavailable or impractical, we will recommend the best product available based on both its environmental impact and its ability to be recycled.