Cradle to Cradle® for Print Products

Published on February 26 2021 | 14:17 hr by Martijn van Santen

Eco labels and standards for print products have a positive impact on shaping a sustainable future. They aim to make papers, inks and other print products safe for people and planet while preserving resources. We welcome the increase in supporters and drivers to accomplish the shift to a healthier print world. Moving beyond sustainability toward a holistic integrated Circular Economy is a key driver for the Healthy Printing Initiative. This transformation is powered by the Cradle to Cradle® design framework. Here are three main aspects of Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) for the print industry.

  1. Criteria for safe and healthy print products

The Cradle to Cradle® Products Innovation Institute sets the global standard for paper and print products that are safe, circular and made responsibly. To receive a material health certification, inks, paper and other print products are assessed for using chemicals that are as safe as possible for humans and the environment. To reach a Cradle to Cradle® Certified Level, products have to fulfil further criteria: material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. Thereby the certification also considers the specific areas of application. For further details on the criteria, the requirements for certification are publicly accessible on the Cradle to Cradle® Products Innovation Institute website at no charge.

  1. Cradle to Cradle® goes beyond recycling

Producing eco-friendly print products is definitely about recycling. But when recycled, substances of toxicological concern like pigments, binding, or bleaching agents from the print may have an adverse effect on the paper cycle. In this case, undesirable substances may enter e.g. packaging products made from certain recycled materials. Cradle to Cradle® ensures the harmlessness of the materials – irrespective of whether they are fresh or recycled. HPI’s priority is to fully support the maximum number of times paper fibre can be recycled. This is reflected in the Introduction to the Healthy Printing Charter and in the pilot projects. Printed paper should only be returned to the soil or used for energy recovery after other recycling options are exhausted. With Cradle to Cradle® this information can be determined, assessed, and verified.

  1. C2C certification is available for all kinds of inks depending on its application

Cradle to Cradle® aims to eventually return de-inking sludges to the biosphere. C2C also considers the specific scenarios the inks are used for. De-inking-processes do not apply in some areas like packaging or label printing. C2C inks only are assessed and used in special areas like print processes, applications or substrates. In addition to plant-based colors other materials can reach a certain level of certification, too. C2C-certified inks already are available for sheet offset, web offset, gravure printing and flexographic printing. Depending on the materials, different levels of certification can be attained.

If you are interested in a C2C certification for print products or in more information on Cradle to Cradle drop us a message.