University of Minnesota

Printing Services

Environmental Responsibility

A Leader in the Sustainability Effort

Printing Services is committed to leading the charge to make responsible environmental choices that help place the University and the State of Minnesota at the forefront of the sustainability effort. We are dedicated to supporting the Board of Regents Policy on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency through both active implementation of environmentally-friendly printing practices as well as consultation with University departments regarding responsible communications decisions.

Planning an Environmentally Friendly Print Project

Communicators Forum Presentation by Bob Swoverland and Shawn Welch

After careful deliberation, you’ve determined that your message will be most effectively communicated with a printed piece. But cost and environmental impact are key components that must be considered as you plan the process. So what can you do to ensure you’re making sound decisions that benefit both the University and the environment? Bob Swoverland and Shawn Welch of University of Minnesota Printing Services discuss some simple, common sense choices you can make when planning your next printing project. Topics include: creating a flexible, multi-purpose piece; methods for printing responsibly; choosing the correct substrate; and analyzing the potential benefits of targeted, personalized printing.

Taking the Lead with Environmentally-Responsible Printing Practices

Printing is a complex process that can yield beautiful results—often at the expense of our natural resources. But new technologies and a renewed commitment to sustainable practices have provided us with the opportunity to make environmentally-friendly printing decisions that still allow us to obtain spectacular results.

From design to delivery, every decision we make impacts the world we live in. At Printing Services, we’re committed to helping the University magnify its message while consciously minimizing its waste. We’re continually researching ways to reduce our environmental footprint, and by adhering to the reduce-reuse-recycle-recover philosophy at each of our seven printing facilities, we’re helping the University lead the way in sustainable printing practices.

  • Printing Services offers an array of recycled paper options at economical “house” prices. We purchase over 116,000 pounds of recycled paper per year with a 10-100% post consumer waste content.
  • Printing Services advises University clients regarding the most effective size for printed materials. Even the slightest adjustments in size can result in less wasted paper and significant cost savings. When consulted early in the design process, our customer service representatives and designers can suggest effective options for cost-effectively printing and mailing.
  • Printing Services’ direct-to-plate platesetting device utilizes technology that requires 75% less chemicals than traditional platesetting. Direct-to-plate technology also eliminates film waste and reduces chemical use.
  • Metal plates are purchased from a manufacturer that uses methane gas to power 40% of its facilities.
  • Printing Services recycles 12,000 pounds of metal plates per year.
  • Approximately 300 pounds of used film per year are donated to a non-profit accessibility program that separates the film and sells it for reuse. (Only two percent of Printing Services’ projects still require traditional film output.)
  • Printing Services uses agri-based inks that are made from non-toxic soybean oil instead of petrochemicals, reducing VOC emissions and providing a safer work environment.
  • When rubber press blankets (used to transfer the image from the plate to the paper) become worn, Printing Services donates the blankets to the Studio Arts program at the University to be reused for wood cut art classes.
  • Printing Services bales and recycles all paper waste with the University’s Waste Management division. Over 161 tons of office-grade paper is recycled yearly by Printing Services.

Providing an Array of Options for Communicating the University’s Messages

Printing Services has evolved from an offset printing facility into a full-service communications department that is technologically-advanced and financially- and environmentally-driven. From web and other electronic communications to on-demand digital and responsible offset printing, Printing Services’ communications team can help your department determine the most environmentally-responsible avenue for communicating your message. Contact a printing consultant to discuss which option is best for your specific needs.

Sustainable Business Card Options

Printing Services produces standard University of Minnesota business cards on 30% post-consumer content, 80# cover weight paper. For those interested in higher post-consumer content, a 100% recycled option is available. To order business cards on 100% recycled paper, place a standard business card order and note “Print on 100% Recycled Paper” in the comments field of the order form. An additional $10 fee will be applied to each order.