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Phase 3

Phase 3 is an integrated marketing services company which provides solutions across the print and marketing spectrum. We were founded in Atlanta, GA in 2001 and have served corporate and enterprise clients across the country for over 20 years.

P3 Asks: What Are Some Eco-friendly Print Substrates and Options?

By Phase 3
January 20, 2020

It's the start of a new year, and we're taking time to set some goals and resolutions for 2020.

With climate change in the news almost every day, we have been thinking about what we can do to ensure we are doing our part to help the environment.  We visited with Jamie Terry, our resident substrates expert, to see what eco-friendly options Phase 3 supplies for our clients and what other green initiatives Phase 3 practices. 


Have you noticed clients asking for eco-friendly substrates or printing solutions more often?

We don't have too many clients ask for eco-friendly print options, but I think it's because people don't know that these options exist! We have some clients who attend sustainable trade shows and want all of their marketing materials and giveaways printed on a eco-friendly material. We also have clients with a major focus on sustainability who ask for these options, but it is our goal to start educating our clients about the eco-friendly options that we offer. 


What does it mean for a substrate to be eco-friendly? 
Being eco-friendly in the substrate world is the same as with other products. The material needs to be biodegradable, recyclable or made from recyclable materials.


What are some eco-friendly substrates available?
Eaglecell™ and Falconboard™ are both rigid large format recycled substrates that are 100% paper based and 100% recyclable. Another option is UltraGreen, a product line from UltraFlex Systems. They have biodegradable large format banner material that degrades in 3-5 years. We also offer small format paper products that are produced from 100% recycled paper.

What are the important factors to consider when making a decision about which substrate to use?

You will need different substrates depending upon if you are running a large format or small format print project. If you are planning a large format project you will want to know how long you intend the print to last; is the print going inside or outside; does the print need to be visible from both sides; is there hardware involved; what is the size, etc.

With small format projects the decision is primarily based on the buyers preference, but you still may want to consider how long you want the print to last; will it be exposed to moisture; and what is the ink coverage and size. Ultimately, the driving factor is budget. The sky is the limit with substrates, but usually the budget will keep you aligned with what substrates you can use.


Why are eco-friendly substrates important?

We live in a world where climate change and the effect it has on Earth is a daily topic. If we can take steps to use sustainable materials and offer them to our clients as a solution to their needs, then we are doing our part. With every print order that comes in there is scrap paper and plastic, so our recycling program is also a key to success. 


Are there other ways that customers can go green in their print projects?

Think about what you are printing and try to print something that can be used more than once, reducing waste. You can also make small changes to your design which will allow you to get more prints out of a sheet. Our team is always happy to talk you through options to make your project more eco-friendly.


Can you tell us about sustainability at Phase 3?

Yes! Sustainability is a key component of our business here at Phase 3, and we strive to use renewable resources as a basis for our materials. We are an FSC-certified company which means that materials purchased for many of our print products conform to the strict standards of the Forest Stewardship Council. We are audited by them annually to ensure we maintain those high standards.

We have also made strides to become more sustainable in recent years. We have accomplished this by purchasing state-of-the-art digital printing equipment for both our small format, large format and wide format digital offerings. This super-efficient printing technology, in combination with streamlined operational procedures, allows us to reduce makeready waste, resulting in less paper and plastic substrates going into the recycle bin.

Additionally, by utilizing eco-friendly inks in our offset and large format printers and implementing a recycling program for our aluminum printing plates, paper and plastic print media waste and packaging waste, we are striving to do our part and to be conscientious and eco-friendly as an organization.