With the amount of effort, we have put in to our companies green ethos, it would all be complete waste of time if we fell at one of the last hurdles. Aside from the fact we are committed to the whole “if you’re going to do it, do it right” mindset, we also do not like hurt pride and scuffed shins from those pesky hurdles. So, we put a lot of effort into finding the right printers to produce our stationery, which had a tick list of requirements longer than days we have all been in lockdown. It wasn’t just finding a printer that was able to print on the uneven, rough seed card (there’s your first problem, most printers are made for paper), it was finding a printer that worked in a way so to not damage the embedded seeds, and a printer that didn’t use plastic cartridges and the ink in said cartridges had to be vegan friendly. It also had to be a commercial printer as opposed to one you can buy in Curry’s as it had to be up to the task to produce professional quality prints consistently (no offence Curry’s printers – you’re ok to print homework and recipes!).
Your probably thinking “I have no idea how ink can be vegan friendly – surely that’s a gimmick?”. Well don’t you worry, let us explain. Nowadays more often than not you have two types of printer in digital printing. (We’re not talking about speciality inks & printing such as foiling, letterpress etc here). Inkjet and toner. These are quite different from each other, and one of them was a no from the get go for us. Toner is actually a powder-based print system. It uses coloured toners and heat and print and seal the image on to the card. It often has a great finish, but that powder isn’t the best stuff in the world. It is primarily made from carbon but also micro granules of plastic. As we are a zero-plastic company, this was a no from us. Plus the fuser unit runs super-hot and would literally kill the seeds embedded in our card – kinda’ defeats the purpose right!
We then started looking at inkjet inks. These do not contain any plastic (YES!) but do contain some chemicals that we did not want to use (BOO!) They contain pigments to achieve the colours rather than dyes and are mainly made of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) – no thank you. With some thorough research we found a vegan friendly alternative. (EVEN BIGGER YES!) This ink still works using the same print process as normal inkjet ink, but it has no VOC’s in the mix and uses natural dyes instead of pigment. These dyes are made from plants and vegetables, the same ones that are often used in food colouring. No colourings from animal-based sources anywhere to be found. The icing on the cake is that fact that our printers do not use single use plastic cartridges. No waste here!
We are continually committed to our sustainability and eco-friendly practices and we will only ever print using methods that are not detrimental to the environment. Pinky promise.