11 February 2010

the business of cards

My post today is inspired by the fact that I had to get business cards printed. As I am in the 'green' business obviously there is the need to walk the talk. In my quick, preliminary research for business card printers online I found two companies in the States that offered eco-friendly business cards. One called Greenerprinter offered cards printed on chlorine-free, 50% post-consumer waste recycled paper. They were printed with VOC-free, soy-based inks and cost a bomb (in terms of what you would expect to pay in India). I also found another company called Pixxlz which offered all manner of eco-friendly things including business cards. I also found the EcoPrintingGroup approved by the FSC that provided a lot of paper products. Ultimately, I wasn't terribly comfortable with the idea of getting them shipped all the way from America. I didn't find very many companies in India who offered business cards except for Printbell. An email to their customer service team confirmed that they offer only 310 GSM 60% recycled paper and no information on the inks they used or if the paper was chlorine-free.

Armed with these facts I did a quick, simple cost-benefit analysis and am going with Printbell. I'm still unsure if they offer VOC-free ink; but all logic suggests that air-freighting business cards from America surely is more harmful than VOC-full ink. I'm still waiting for the cards and hopefully the reviews on the site match up to expectations.

Recycled paper products form a number of varieties which is worth educating yourself about. Each ton (2000 lbs) of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and 4100 kwh of energy. It also eliminates 60 lbs of air-polluting emissions and saves 8 cubic feet of landfill space. Recycled paper often matches the characteristics of virgin paper and is available in a range of colours that does not compromise on print quality. Chlorine-free paper is unbleached and does not contain chlorine which means that harmful chemicals including dioxins are not released into water supplies.

How do you get started? First of all look for recycled paper. Recycled paper products usually contain a symbol that looks like this - which indicates that it is made from recycled content. This is not to be confused with which merely means that the product can be recycled. Secondly look for the highest percentage of post-consumer content in the paper. This indicates the amount of waste paper collected from consumers and reprocessed. Pre-consumer waste paper is also available and this is manufactured from paper trimmings from paper mill and printer, printed materials that never reach the consumer etc. Thirdly do not fall for labeling that proclaims paper products to be 'environment-friendly', 'natural' etc. The Environmental Defense Fund has an online paper calculator that you can use to figure out paper needs.

There is a gamut of information online about the benefits and importance of recycling. Recycling is one the most easiest, simplest ways of reducing wastes. With a plethora of recycled products available in the market there is no excuse for anyone to use virgin material be it plastic or paper. For a quick check-list of recycling facts, look here. If there is one green-habit you start today; make sure that is recycling and the use of recycled products.

13 comments:

Ramesh said...

Nice post Akhila extolling the benefits of recycling. I think the awareness in India is catching on - we see more and more on recycling paper use. The trick is to make environmentally friendly products also cheaper (its a complete myth that to be environmentally friendly it has to be costlier). Adoption would rocket then.

The dilemaa you faced on the business cards accurately portrays how its a complex issue where there are competing pressures and you have to choose the alternative that's least harmful. Unfortunately many pressure groups are single issue focused and do more harm than good by forcing a course of action (eg VOC free ink) at the cost of overall benefit (as you very rightly evaluated).

Akhila Vijayaraghavan said...

I like your phrasing of the problem "single issue focused" - to be fair, this allows for a market void to be filled up with innovative products. However, the slower this fills up, the more environmental harm there will be. The trade-off is for consumers to educate themselves about options that are least harmful and then make a decision based on that.

It certainly is a complex issue and something that even those of us in the know grapple with. This is not something that is going to change soon without better marketing, labeling and certification processes.

Syed said...

Business cards are most mopular and very helpful for your busines advertising. There are so many companies providing business cards.
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Kirti said...

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vinay bhardwaj said...

business card is a very useful and short way to provide information to others Free Business Cards

Zeeshan Hanzillah said...

Now a days people are much demanding
plastic business cards so i think it`s lucrative to do business of cards...

A Ali said...

Business card is very useful thanks for sharing..
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shakshi S said...

online visiting card design india can be personalized by the comfor of your home,You can save and time creating your own cards,

Anonymous said...

Great Post Akhila.. I agree that green and eco-friendly products should rule the world to bring ecological balance. I recommend you all to get your business cards personalized using vistaprint offers

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