Interesting topic mate… Before I start, I am in no way a believer in the whole global warming scenario. But that’s for another post! 😀
Regardless of my beliefs, the whole eco-friendly, sustainable products etc. that are being promoted more and more are an opportunity for sign companies, large or small to take full advantage of. To try and explain… The bigger the customer, the stronger they are forced by the government to trade only with businesses that are conforming with the processes and products that tick the boxes. There for, at the very least, when you are quoting for work with large companies, even if they have not asked. You should consider adding something about your company being able to also offer the option of using sustainable products for their signage needs.
I started making the move to become a greener company at least 10+ years ago when we purchased our UV flatbed printer. We also began changing all workshops and office lighting to LED. all our signs shifted from tubes to LEDs, and our entire business went cloud-based, accounts, filing, job tracking, software and more, are all cloud-based, meaning we have become 99% paperless. However, the core of the work is done in the print and cut vinyl workshop and I have never been confident enough in the available products or should I say the “availability of the products, to make me want to move further! However, since around Fespa time, more and more manufacturers of vinyl have come out with non-PVC alternatives, so much so, that I have a plan! not that I am going to give away my masterplan 😎🤣🤣 But I have decided that I will start “testing” non-PVC coloured and digital vinyl amongst other roll materials, within weeks and all being well, I will be starting to move more and more to sustainable products, very quickly.
The downside of these new vinyls is that they are have not been tested properly (in my view) and have no “real-world life expectancy” nor how they perform when being installed.
PVC based products have been great for this industry, they have been affordable, long lasting and readily available. However if you dig a little deeper and you have at least some compassion for future generations you will find that pvc is one of the worst products for the environment, regardless of being a pro eco person or not. PVC is manufactured in many stages and the early stages harm the environment the worst. We then buy, sell, manufacture rolls and sheets for in the scheme of things for a short period of time, sometimes even hours, 5 years is still short term taken that pvc never degrades it just breaks down into small pieces of pvc that eventually down to the microscopic level and lasting upto 800 years. The “C” in pvC is Chloride that leaches into the environment and eventually hits the water table.
When a customer next comes into your shop and asks for a printed 1000 x 1000 panel for a grand opening, the usual go to product of 5mm or 3mm Foam PVC with pvc printed self adhesive vinyl that you sell him for £60, this could easily go onto a 5mm cardboard alternative and printed onto a polypropylene self adhesive film, which would cost you equal to if not cheaper than the pvc and without nasties.
PVC is not easily recycled due to how many additives are added in the manufacture process for instance U-PVC Windows are the same as pvc vinyls but without plasticisers the U means un plasticised. This means when all the different types of pvc are made into alternative products they a very low grade products and can only be recycled once
If pvc goes to incineration the chloride gases need to be trapped and disposed of somehow as well as the contaminated ash.
Then there’s how much waste is produced when cutting out vinyl letters sometimes more than 50% goes straight in the bin.
We’ve recently launched a polypropylene alternative to pvc self adhesive vinyl. Polypropylene is easier and cleaner to manufacture, consists mainly carbon and hydrogen both natural to the environment. PP is easily recycled in the number 5 recycling stream along with correx, bubble board and polyline Foam And unlike pvc can be made into grade a products again
Our simply non pvc is a 4 year self adhesive in gloss and Matt
60 micron air free adhesive or 100 micron non air free, both films are the same spec just thicker,
Matching polypropylene laminates in Matt and gloss (Drywipe as standard)
Available for latex and UV plus newly launched Eco solvent
On average you will pay the same if not less than your standard polymeric and maybe £10 a roll above your cheaper Monomeric, the laminates around your polymeric price
I’m not here to promote my product just highlight that change is easier than you think and you can change some things without being asked.
I would love too, however the price just isn’t there yet.
95% of customers our customers simply won’t care, the 5% will like to tick the green box. I can’t justify the financial cost of ditching tried and tested materials, and I’m not sure our usage would really make a difference on the eco front.
Add to that we’re printing using Solvent Inks, so I’m not sure if that undoes some of the green credentials.
All that said, we have made a consicous decision to reduce PVC, I had a great conversation with Graham, and there’s so many alternatives to Foam PVC, that are equally suitable.
we are the same David. had some reps in our place but the price is higher than normal and has a shorter life? i struggle to get the boss to buy a quality wrap vinyl so i doubt he will look at paying more for non PVC.