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  • Eco Friendly Signage Options

    Posted by Myles Brewer on September 28, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Hi All,

    I’m sure this subject must have already been discussed, but I can’t seem to find anything with a search here!
    So thought I’d start something off anyway…

    It’s obviously a topical subject & could get very complex but I suppose if I start with the initial query I have regarding an imminent job I have & we can expand from there as I’d like to learn about this as I’m sure it will be asked more & more by customers over the next few years.

    I have a customer asking if I can produce/supply as eco-friendly products as possible. They are looking for rigid sign panels approx A3 size with printed graphics which will be mounted onto a lectern-style structure, possibly on stand-offs. They would like them to be reasonably durable, as in they will last 5 years or so with the option then to replace/re-cover as required as-and-when the graphics fade/peel/degrade etc.

    A simple enough item if it didn’t need to be eco!!

    Now I have a Latex 365 printer so that at least ticks one box. What I am unsure about is both substrates & print media.

    I’m in the process of contacting a few of my suppliers & asking if they have any knowledge on both but have so far only had one reply suggesting a PVC-free media from 3M, but the issue for me on this is that it’s only available in 50m rolls & costs an arm & a leg for a set with laminate!!

    I suspect this will be a recurring theme at the moment but interested to hear from anyone out there who is doing this kind of thing & what is being used.

    RobertLambie replied 8 months, 1 week ago 6 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • Simon Worrall

    September 28, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    DIg deep into ANY claims of “ecofriendliness” and you find they are ALL greenwash. Latex inks are as bad as anything else in their manufacturing process. The “latex” sounds natural like it gets tapped from rubber trees in a friendly symbiotic process. It doesnt.
    “Recycling” has always been a scam. “Biomass” generally means “Swathes of beautiful trees cut down in Canada, shipped across the world, and burned at Drax.” Electric vehicles, while they may be nice and clean to drive, are certainly not green to charge…or to manufacture.
    Solar panels are generally placed on the cheapest land, which in most parts of the world turn out to be forest or other delicate ecosystem, or at best, farmland, which takes away food production. Windmills the same. Hydrogen is made from natural gas in a lossy process that actually puts out more co2 than just burning the original gas. “Green” hydrogen? Do me a favour. “Carbon Capture machines?” Omg that is the worst scam of all.
    So probably best to join the scam, buy “carbon credits” from some international broker who will pay some of your money to a carbon capture scam artist to “offset” your polluting ways, which enables you to pretend that you are not pumping carbon into the atmosphere, if you do some complicated mathematics to prove it.

    Although you are.

    Tell your customer to not have the third, fourth and fifth child. Thats probably the ONLY green thing he can do.
    He will, of course, take offence, and go look for another signwriter.

    • Myles Brewer

      September 28, 2023 at 3:25 pm

      Ha! Ha! Nice rant Simon, do you feel better with that off your chest now!🤣

      It certainly appears that you’ve looked into this a little before!?

      I realise it’s really quite a lot of BS at the moment & all a big knee-jerk reaction to placate the plebian population for the time being, but that said, there are still surely some options which are “less Bad” than others? Latex being one example. Yes it’s not as eco as they make out, but in some aspects at least it’s less harmful ( I say this sitting not 8 inches from my 365 as it cooks me slowly, BUT, it’s currently not polluting my lungs & making me high!! I don’t think?😲)

      • Simon Worrall

        September 29, 2023 at 7:14 am

        I wish. 😊

    • Myles Brewer

      September 28, 2023 at 3:41 pm

      Oh! & my customer is actually the local Marian Shrine!! So they are all about apparitions!! So should be easy to convince!🤣
      A very good customer though I must add in all honesty, so wouldn’t want to upset them.

    • David Hammond

      September 28, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      😂 Nail on the head.

      I’ve not looked into it in great depth, but my understanding is that Latex inks are more friendly, at the end of their life, ie, will degrade with less harmful material. Same with PVC, that doesn’t ever degrade, but just breaks down into smaller, and smaller pieces. @graham-scanlan is the man to ask about green credentials.

  • Richard Wills

    September 28, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    Polyprop seems to be less evil than PVC when it comes to disposal – it can be (potentially, but probably not actually) recycled, and seems to be an acceptable fuel for incineration. So that gives you options for print and laminate, but what substrate, will look good over the years?

    I’ve got customers pushing for eco-friendly – I point out we’re in a recycled building, using all the kit to beyond normal end of life – then ask for giant prints on aluminium from their cruise liner trip to the (ant)arctic.

    Carbon credits; paying someone on the other side of the world to be kind, so you can be nasty at home. While making the traders a shed load of cash, as usual. Collective term for those financial people, a wunch (of bankers)

    Electric vehicles – one benefit (if you can afford one) is reduced localised air pollution in towns and cities. Yes, manufacturing and running of them is less green than they’d like you to think, but localised air pollution is reduced.

    • David Hammond

      September 28, 2023 at 8:10 pm

      Yes it is comical.

      We had a customer that exported vehicles to Africa… I’m talking sheds of vans, that couldn’t pass an MOT, tractor units that had been to the moon and back several times, but off they went for someone to run in Africa. They used to take them apart because even though they were sheds to us, they would often disappear when clearing customs.

      I wonder what’s happening to all those vehicles that are being scrapped for ULEZ-compliant vehicles.. just moving the problem to someone else’s backyard.

  • Graham Scanlan

    September 29, 2023 at 6:11 am

    Hi Myles

    You haven’t mentioned if the signage is interior or exterior. when discussing this subject it’s normally agreed that PVC and solvents are the products to switch out, Pyramid Display has worked on alternatives way before it became trendy to talk about it.

    We have worked with some of our customers to offer closed-loop recycling.

    We sold Bubble Board for a very large sporting event, it was then printed and used, then collected and sent back to the manufacturer for recycling into car rear shelves,

    We favour Polypropylene for a PVC alternative and fibre-based products for short-term outdoor and longer-indoor applications.

    Polypropylene is a lot friendlier to manufacture, consists of natural products and is recycled in the number 5 recycle waste stream. We supply it in

    220 to 650 micron film thicknesses to replace semi-rigid PVC.

    Polyline Foam produced in 2.5mm and 3.5mm Rigid sheets to replace Foam PVC (fun fact…it’s more rigid, with a harder surface and harder to damage than Foam PVC)

    Correx we all know this one

    Bubble board is again Polypropylene flatter and stiffer than correx and can be supplied with an FR centre. (Fun fact…We have a variation of bubble board that’s used for ply lining vehicles due to its strength and being a lot lighter than Ply especially useful for electric vans

    Simply non PVC self-adhesive together with Matt and gloss matching laminates (fun fact…the gloss level on the laminate is super glossy and doubles as a dry wipe / anti-graffiti) and it’s around the same price as a decent polymeric vinyl. Will it suit every application? No

    Polypropylene is a sellable waste product, last time I looked it was returning £30 a tonne

    We supply paper products that can be used short term outside (6 months)

    Most of the panels on bus advertising are cardboard

    We have white card in 3mm and 4.5mm

    All can go into the paper waste stream

    Our Alupanel ACM has an 80% recycled LDPE centre and will be soon offering a closed-loop recycling scheme for customers producing large hoarding jobs and who want to return the waste. 20 tonnes collected foc, anything lass approx £80:a tonne (£0.88 per sheet based on 90 sheets)

    Then there are polyester textiles that are easily recycled

    We have Avery non PVC wrap films that are made of Polyurethane with matching gloss and Matt laminates.

    We have non-pvc coloured plotter vinyl

    The worst case scenario is our products go to landfills and Polypropylene and Paper will not kill the earth.

    I’m off to see what impact waste Polyurethanes has on the earth, that one fought me out.

    I’m not going to fix your problem but the above is a snapshot into what we’ve been working on for years.

    • Myles Brewer

      October 1, 2023 at 4:32 pm

      Apologies Graham, Forgot to include that they are for outdoors.

      Re the customer, I don’t think any of it will be a game changer to be honest for them. It’s just that the signage is for a project called “Creation Walk” with signs along a pathway with religious quotes relating to the creation of the cosmos & life etc. so it seemed a little hypocritical to be using something damaging to the planet & why they then asked if I could potentially use an eco-friendly product.

      Part of my issue is being in the Republic of Ireland as there is never that much choice of products here generally as in the UK & although obviously it’s possible to buy from the UK, since Brexit, it’s really become a bit of a nightmare with shipping costs due to all the customs BS.

      I was actually thinking about using solid aluminium as the substrate & I think any PVC-free vinyl & laminate would potentially work ok. If the prints had to be replaced every few years that wouldn’t be a major additional cost at the size & quantity required. They would be mounted on stand-offs so easy to remove & replace.

      I have come across a Polyprop sheet by Mapal called Polycraft which I think is similar to what you referred to as Polyline maybe? It is far more rigid & hard than say Foamex but can only get it in 1.8, 2.0 & 2.5mm here. Otherwise it could have been a good option.

      Interestingly I’ve just come across a company that recycles ACM panels & am trying to establish if this is something that individual sign companies could potentially use for offcuts & old used panels etc.

  • RobertLambie

    October 1, 2023 at 1:34 am

    Hi Myles

    I have been looking into this for a number of years, on and off.
    To date, I have never found a “great” cost-effective GREEN solution.

    I like to be able to offer my customers the best “long-term” solution for their signs and graphics.
    I do not even like offering temporary or short-term signage, it just doesn’t float my boat.
    So, “my frame of mind” is all wrong when it comes to being able to promote or push this type of signage and that is probably a hindrance “to me” with my customers, on this subject.

    Regardless, throughout my research…
    * I have only really found higher-priced shorter-life products, termed as eco-friendly in one way or another.
    * Some products claim to be a recyclable solution, are in fact only 30-60% recyclable, the rest of the product goes to landfill.
    * Some products that claim to be environmentally friendly may well be, but their manufacturing processes or the location where they are manufactured, then incur shipping, flying or whatever method it takes to get that product to your workplace. so the overall carbon footprint the product has to get to you is worse than the original version of the product you were buying locally.

    it really is a minefield…

    If your customer is a large company and pressing on you for eco solutions, then you must try and find out “to what extent?”

    (1) Do they just want to tick some boxes showing you as a company will offer some signs using eco-friendly products? (so they can feel warm and fuzzy inside for helping the planet)

    (2) Or do they expect you to give them a complete solution, signs branded with your logo, manufacturing dates etc. along with possible audits being done on the product list you use, with access to show how and why these products are being manufactured, or even their carbon footprint path to get to your business?

    If it is number one, then call @graham-scanlan he has been in the industry a long time and you can see from the post above he knows his stuff and has a list of products to consider. if nothing else I am sure Graham will give you good advice.

    If they want number Two, then again, Graham is a great start. But.. what you need to ask yourself is does the potential work involved in doing this cover all the leg-work and research, extra stock, having your own inhouse audit process for expiring goods that are out on the feild. blah blah blah??

    You see, if these are “external signs” they will last 2 years max and there has to be processes of renewing them that the customer must understand and accept, before you do anything. The last thing you want is “early deteriating” signs and your phone ringing with a customer complaining, saying “you told me 2 years and its been 18 months, i want a discount or i am not renewing blah blah!”

    This is where i see things getting messy. “we, the signmaker” are now expected to give some sort of warranty on our new over priced signs short life exterior signs. It is fine to say, it will just be verbal.
    But if you are working on option two with a big company buyer, trust me, they are looking for solid solutions to win them a feather in their cap. Not hand you money year on year for renewals.

    Do NOT get me wrong, this is a fantastic opertunity for you and any sign company readying this.
    If you can create a eco solution of sheet material, vinyl etc and draft up your own proposal for companies that you want to target for future eco-business, then go for it. It will open doors and will be looked on VERY favorable by the government and local authorities and will benefit your company long term. I am simply pointing out the negatives to make you and anyone reading, it is a minefeild, and it could bite you hard on the arse further down the line. So tread carefully.

    I personally, have put together a two part option of eco-freindly and sustainable sign solutions.
    There is a difference, but far to long winded for me to go into. Plus, i need to keep some things under my hat for the time being. 🧐😎

    I will add, if your customer is only after interior promotional work, then that is much less troublesome.
    But as always, i like to think on a worst case scenario basis. Eveerything else after that is easy!

    And just for the record…
    I really do not buy into the whole global warming stuff, I think it is a pile of crap. Same with the electric vehicles, ULEZ zones, 15 minute cities etc. all nonsense!
    But hey, there are plenty of opertunities arising from it all, it is just down working out how best to do it for you and your company.

    • David Hammond

      October 1, 2023 at 4:39 am

      Reminded me of a customer years ago who insisted on using recycle paper, because it’s greener. When in actual fact it isn’t, the process of recycling the paper isn’t ‘green’ and using a paper stock from a well managed forrest and mill would be ‘greener’. I don’t think we got the job as they didn’t like being told they were wrong 😂

    • Simon Worrall

      October 1, 2023 at 4:54 am

      “I really do not buy into the whole global warming stuff, I think it is a pile of crap.”

      I disagree. 100%.
      The trouble is, there are NO realistic fixes, just giant funnels of idiot government money into useless programs to make us feel like something is being done.

      That’s where the pile of crap lies.

  • Myles Brewer

    October 1, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Ha! Ha! I had a feeling I might be disturbing a hornet’s nest with this subject!! It was bound to bring up the global warming debate & for myself I’m 100% with Simon on this. I find it hard to understand how people are still denying it’s existence!!

    I realise that the planet naturally cycles between ice ages & warming, but in planetary timescales this should be happening at a snails pace, but what we are seeing now is happening at lightspeed & it seems an incredible coincidence that it’s happening very shortly after humanity’s explosion in population & industrialization over the last couple of centuries.

    When you simply think of the billions of manmade chemical products that line every single isle of every single shop & supermarket on the planet & most of them for cleaning or washing & all get washed into the water system. How can this possibly not be having an effect on the planet?? Not to mention all the other aspects of our daily polluting lives!

    Now I’m no tree-hugging greeny & am as guilty as the next person of sheeping along with my eyes closed. BUT I do feel that what is happening before our eyes right now is not a natural blip that will go away in a few years, It’s a runaway train heading right at us.

    Even if it wasn’t actually CAUSED by us & was part of a natural cycle, it seems that we have some of the knowledge & ability, IF everyone was on board, to pull on the train’s brakes to slow it down & even potentially reverse it!

    Surely it must be better to at least try to grab the brake lever to slow it down?? Yes it may well snap off in our hands, but the alternative is to ignore it completely & just hope the wind blows enough leaves onto the track to slow it down enough that it doesn’t pulverize us into a pulp when it finally hits us!!

  • RobertLambie

    October 1, 2023 at 9:53 pm

    🏳 Guys, I come in peace! 🏳🤣

    at the end of the day, It is just my opinion.

    Should we pollute our oceans and the air we breathe, endanger wildlife and more?
    “in my opinion”100% No!
    I am all for cleaning up the planet, making changes to manufacturing processes, banning chemicals and how we dispose of waste and much much more. I am all for environmentally friendly processes and products that make the planet a safer, cleaner place to live.

    But is the planet heating up at record paces with “rising tides” that will soon wipe out places like London, and entire coastlines around the world within 10-20 years?
    “in my opinion” 100% No!

    Maybe once the governments that push this narrative start “practising what they tax” us for, then maybe they will gain more credibility. Until they do, and can produce some hard facts, my view on it is, crap!🤔

    I do not say all this based on an arrogant flippant view. I started changing our company to become greener and offer eco-friendly and sustainable products to our larger customers around 12 years ago, long before the bandwagon started forming. The first thing we did was switch to UV flatbed printing, an £80k investment which was significant for a small company, then switched from solvent to latex, We changed lots of products and processes. We have also “dropped over 95%” of our paper use in our offices, and will soon be adding an ISO14001 certification to our ISO9001. But does this change my view on “global warming?” definitely not.

    anyway, I respect we have differences of opinions. 👍

    I guess a positive of global warming being true, is Scotland might get a wee bit warmer! 😂😎

    • Myles Brewer

      October 4, 2023 at 10:30 am

      I guess a positive of global warming being true, is Scotland might get a wee bit warmer!

      🤣 Now I am with you 100% on that if we can include Ireland too!? & dryer!

      Whilst I have your attention here too Rob, Could I ask you about invoices for subscriptions? I’ve tried a couple of times recently & in the past asking via the forum contact page if it’s possible to get an invoice for the subscription but to no avail.

      Could your system not be set up to automatically send an invoice when subscriptions renew?

  • RobertLambie

    October 4, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Hi Myles

    Not a problem, please send Chris an email and copy me in mate. 👍

    For future reference:
    Contact us link via the forum

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