Environmentally Sustainable Practices at Master Print

Environmentally Sustainable Practices at Master Print

Elementary school children can remind us how to be environmentally-friendly: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Master Print follows these practices throughout print production to benefit the Earth. Waste reduction, sustainable purchasing, and recycling are the ways we contribute.

Design and Planning

Waste can be reduced most efficiently in the beginning of each print project. Preparing space-efficient layouts that maximize use of the press sheet reduces paper waste at later stages. Efficient planning of each job can also allow for scheduling job runs to reduce color changes to reduce heavy cleaning. Planning also allows the press operator to prepare only the amount of ink needed for the day's jobs.

Sustainable Paper Sourcing

A whopping 14% of deforestation globally is done to satisfy our demand for paper products. This equals the destruction of more than 10 million acres of forest every year. That’s an area the size of the entire state of West Virginia!

Master Print participates in two certification programs to ensure that its paper stock comes from sustainable sources. The first is the SFI Forest Management Standard, which looks not only at sustainable harvest practices but also the protection of animal habitats and water quality. More than 285 million acres of land are currently certified within the United States and Canada by SFI.

The other certification program Master Print supports is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is a non-profit that maintains high standards to ensure that forestry is practiced in an environmentally-friendly way. If a product, like a shipment of paper, is labeled as "FSC Certified," it means that the wood used in the product and the manufacturer that made it met FSC standards. This program is considered the “gold standard” designation for sustainably harvested wood.

Vegetable- and Soy-Based Inks

Traditional printing inks are made using petroleum and contain a high amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are linked to many negative environmental affects, and some are even known carcinogens. Add to all this that petroleum is made from oil, which is not a renewable resource, and you can understand why we choose to use alternative inks.

Used only in the lithographic print industry, soy- and vegetable-based inks are alternative inks that can reduce VOC content by as much as 80 percent! Soy-based inks are made from soybean oil and vegetable-based inks are made from linseed oil, which is derived from flax seed. Most manufacturers of soy- and vegetable-based inks today actually create blends of ingredients—sort of like a winemaker will blend grapes—to take advantage of the unique characteristics of each oil.


The variety of waste involved in printing is vast. Solid waste could consist of anything from paper to aluminum, and from ink to wood. Below are some of the ways we recycle our waste.


Paper can be recycled up to 7 times per virgin sheet. Besides recycling scrap paper, we also encourage our customers to use recycled stock whenever possible. Since paper is so easily recycled (and technology is improving every year), it’s an easy way to help the environment.


Our large shipments of paper, ink, and other supplies are delivered on wood pallets. We reuse pallets until they can no longer be used before recycling—another easily completed task.


Remember how lithography is the process of printing from a flat plate? These plates are made of thin aluminum sheets that cannot be reused (because each image is etched into the plate itself). Fortunately, aluminum is another easily recycled resource, and we recycle all of our plates.