Everyone says they are environmentally friendly these days, don't they? At Upstream, we don't just talk the talk, but as the saying goes, we also walk the walk...
The London Environment Centre has awarded us their Green Mark accreditation. Green Mark is an environmental certification that enables businesses and other organisations to improve their environmental performance and gain recognition for doing so.
The process of achieving the accreditation has seen us improve our power saving, recycling and environmental management. This, in addition to our existing good practices, ensured we passed the Green Mark certification.
Southwark Council have also recognised our green credentials by awarding us their Silver Environmental Business Award.
We can source a wide range of recycled papers, with high levels of post-consumer waste content. That's where the recycled waste was produced by the end consumer of a product (the stuff that people throw away that usually clog up a landfill) not as a by-product of the manufacturing process (trimmings from paper production etc.)
It's not just landfill space recycled paper saves, As waste rots in landfills it releases methane gas, 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.
For every tonne of paper used for recycling the savings are:
- at least 30,000 litres of water
- 3,000 - 4,000 KWh electricity (enough for an average 3 bedroom house for one year)
- 95% of the air pollution of virgin paper production (no chlorine bleaching process).
Upstream uses vegetable-based inks with dramatically lower rates of emissions. Conventional printing inks are petroleum-based and used with alcohol-based solvents. As alcohol and petroleum evaporate, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted. VOCs cause environmental pollution and are a health hazard to pressroom workers, creating ozone pollution or photochemical smog.
Vegetable-based inks have dramatically lower rates of VOC emissions. Petroleum inks emit 25 to 40% VOCs as they dry, while rates for vegetable-based inks are as low as 2 to 4%. Vegetable oils used in printing inks are essentially non-hazardous.
Petroleum inks contain products refined from crude oil, which is a finite resource. Energy requirements for extraction, refining and treatment are high, adding to environmental destruction. In contrast vegetable oils are derived from renewable resources. Vegetable based inks also benefit the environment due to greater ease of removal from waste paper during de-inking for recycling.