Europoint Display, a subsidiary of The Paper Company (PaperCo), has launched a range of initiatives to encourage high street retailers and supermarkets to print their signage, packaging and displays on more environmentally friendly substrates. The company has developed a boxed swatch of alternative, greener media, The EnviroBox, supported by the industry’s first PC-based calculator to assess the overall environmental impact of substrates, and a complementary environmental report. Europoint will use the materials to encourage debate among retailers, designers and printers regarding which substrates are most appropriate to help them lower their environmental impact. The initiative is in response to rising demand from blue chip companies for greener materials.
The company will present its EnviroBox to designers, corporate print buyers and printers to foster debate throughout the procurement and production chain. Each EnviroBox contains a raft of products for banners, self-adhesives for windows, rigid sheets and films that are viable replacements for PVC-based products but are less harmful to the environment. It also contains new, less harmful versions of existing products, such as a foam PVC substrate that is made almost entirely from recycled polymer. Each EnviroBox will also include an environmental report Plastics in the Environment, which has been produced by Europoint’s Environmental Solutions Director, Vic Adie.
Europoint’s environmental impact calculator, based on a spreadsheet format, ranks materials on the impact that they have throughout their lifecycle (i.e. how much energy is needed to produce them, their biodegradability and recyclability) and gives users an overall rating for each one. The company believes that the calculator, the first of its kind, will help dispel much of the confusion surrounding the range of materials and help retailers identify suitable alternatives.
“This initiative follows online research that we undertook to assess the interest from high street retailers in less harmful signage and display products,” said Adie. “We found there’s a huge demand from retailers who are keen to reduce their impact on the environment. However, there often seems to be confusion regarding the relative environmental merits of new types of substrates available. For example, if a company wants to avoid contributing to landfill, which substrates are most appropriate? Or, if they want to minimise the amount of energy, and therefore carbon, needed to produce or recycle a particular material, which one should they choose? It’s an incredibly complex area, which is why we want to encourage debate.”
In the coming weeks, Europoint will meet a number of retailers, printers and creative agencies to introduce the EnviroBox, calculator and report, to help drive interest in the latest materials. The company, which is also currently developing a bespoke range of greener substrates for some of the UK’s largest retail brands, will also use the meetings to research what kinds of substrates they want to see developed. It will then work with suppliers to develop the next generation of environmentally friendly substrates.
Adie added: “We are currently working on a project for one of the biggest names in retail, which, if successful, will replace 500 tonnes a year of a PVC-based product with a far more environmentally friendly one that does the same job. That’s a huge difference to the environment. It also means that PaperCo will be at the forefront of substrate technology as retailers switch to less harmful plastic and then move away from plastics altogether. Sending materials to landfill is getting increasingly expensive, so apart from the environmental arguments there are sound business reasons driving this trend.”
With a successful and well established background as a supplier to the screen printing industry since the early 1990s, Europoint Display, a subsidiary of The Paper Company (PaperCo), has evolved and grown in response to the changing dynamics affecting its core markets. In addition to the ranges of conventional products for screen printing, the company also stocks an ever growing range of media, substrates and inks for the ‘graphic image producer’ of the 21st century and is now a significant supplier to the signage, wide format and digital sectors. This is supported by a full range of conversion facilities, including flatbed saws, wall saws, guillotining and a sheeting from reels service.
Europoint Display is also committed to offering a comprehensive range of wide format digital printing equipment including flatbed and roll to roll machines and is delighted to be the first choice distributor for Roland DG and Canon. Europoint Display is able to provide an unrivalled service as it holds stock close to every major city in the UK. As well as its five regional sales offices in Glasgow, Tyne and Wear, Manchester, Bristol and London, Europoint Display also operates through PaperCo’s network of 27 strategically located branches.