As you know our industry is just now transitioning with sustainability in mind. For the first time ever we are presented by our vendors with more choices of green alternative medias. I will list the medias that we are currently testing and using. If you have particular questions of regarding any of these, I would be happy to submit some samples. I am going to cover the materials that we are making available to our clients and then go through some of the internal steps we are taking to become a greener company.
Here are some types of materials we currently have found:
Paper Based Fiber Boards:
These are high strength boards made from paper and some are composed of post consumer recycled paper. They are 100% recyclable and have a “honeycomb” interior sandwiched between two heavy stock paper faces. Some of these faces are coated for water-resistance and, when laminated and edge caped, can be used for short-term outdoor use. They are already being used for many retail POP applications. Some of the manufactures are also offering thinner materials without the honeycomb. These substrates are renewable and recyclable resources and contain little to no hazardous materials. They have proven to be a great answer for clients who request eco-friendly boards.
Non PVC Based Plastic Boards:
This is a large category of materials which simply do not conatain PVC. Reducing the amount of PVC (vinyl) in a project can greatly increase how eco-friendly it is. Some of the materials in this category aren’t as eco-friendly as others, but in comparison to PVC , they are good alternatives. Examples are: Structa-Board, Polystyrene, Biodegradable Foam Boards.
Traditionally, vinyl banner has been the most widely used banner material in the industry but there are alternatives available. Some materials still contain PVC but also contain properties which allow them to biodegrade over time in the right environment.
Some examples are: Bio-Flex and BioMesh (Biodegradable PVC), Tyvek, paper based banner products (I have some samples of this as well)
Many laminates are made with a PVC based film and use solvent based adhesives. Alternative laminates may use polyester or polypropylene films with a water based adhesive. Some laminates may still use a PVC based film, but are manufactured in a an environmentally conscious way and may still be considered eco-friendly. I can provide some examples of these as well.
Specialty applications like wall coverings are becoming more common in the sign industry and with that also comes eco-friendly material options. Printing with dye-sublimation produce beautiful images onto uncoated materials. Signs by Tomorrow Bloomingdale is currently researching dye sublimation printers and sublimators. More on this soon!
Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow has been working with machine manufacturers to help educate the industry in order to bring better, more sustainable options into the print world. We were recently involved with HP on the following interview and also brought the merchandise mart properties to the table to give an end users perspective. You can watch this video here. Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow is also researching some cutting edge technology from HP involving an ink process that uses latex in the formulation instead of solvents. That printer technology can be seen here
Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow is currently using UV curable technology as well to provide signage without the emission of VOC’s. Here is more information on a spotlight that HP did on our HP Scitex FB 6100.