PNEAC Fact Sheet
Environmental Marketing
By Todd MacFadden, Pollution Prevention Technical Specialist and Michael P. Vogel, Ed.D., Pollution Prevention Director

Commercial Printing

Foremost in the minds of most customers are quality images at a reasonable cost. But customers are becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental impacts of their print jobs. Effective marketing of your environmental protection efforts may provide you with a keen competitive advantage.

As general environmental awareness continues to sharpen, environmental marketing will play a larger role in attracting and retaining customers.

Environmental Marketing Tips

  1. Do the right thing. The first step toward shaping a positive environmental image is to make sure you understand and are in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. Obviously, an environmental regulation fine won't help your marketing efforts much. Refer to Fact Sheet #10, "Printer's Guide to Environmental Regulations," in this packet for the basics, and don't be afraid to ask questions. The Montana Pollution Prevention Program offers general, confidential information about regulations toll-free at 888-MSU-MTP2. Or contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality at 406/444-1430.
  2. Be an industry leader. Effective environmental marketing works especially well when you have something unique to offer. Everyone offers recycled stock. What sets your shop apart from other printers? The information in this packet will get you started with new, fresh pollution prevention ideas ­ things that really can set you apart.
  3. Do your homework. Part of being an industry leader is becoming savvy with the environmental issues affecting printers, and anticipating questions your customers will have. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, for instance related to recycled paper, or bleaching processes. Could you answer them correctly?
  4. Educate employees. Does your staff know what you're doing to prevent pollution in the shop? Are they prepared to answer questions? On the other hand, have you solicited their input? Employees often have great marketing ideas.
  5. Emphasize what you're already doing. For years, the printing industry has demonstrated responsibility and environmental sensitivity, for example through efforts to reduce the evaporation of cleaning solvents, or recovering waste silver from film processing operations. Here are some ideas for showcasing your efforts:
    • Create new logo that illustrates environmental awareness and sensitivity.
    • Participate in environmental recognition and awards programs. Each year the Montana Pollution Prevention Program and the Small Business Administration offer the Environmental Excellence Award to businesses demonstrating excellence in environmental protection. In addition, the Montana Pollution Prevention Program is currently developing the Eco-Stars recognition program that will provide businesses even more opportunities to show off their achievements in environmental protection.
    • Waiting room reading material - signs, fact sheets, brochures, posters. Here are some ideas of things to highlight:
      • Top ten myths about recycled paper
      • Facts about paper bleaching
      • Facts about soy ink
      • Why we switched our cleaning solvents
      • What are VOCs, and what we've done to reduce them. Publicize the fact that the printing industry cooperates with EPA ­ in programs such as the Design for the Environment Project and the Great Printers Project ­ and with other organizations such as the Montana Pollution Prevention Program to continue developing usable, effective technologies that help minimize waste.

Contact the Montana Pollution Prevention Program for assistance with environmental marketing strategies toll free in Montana at (888) MSU-MTP2 or out of state (406) 994-3451.

Primary Authors

Todd MacFadden
Pollution Prevention Technical Specialist

Michael P. Vogel
Pollution Prevention Director

Ed D.
Pollution Prevention Director

Other PNEAC Contacts

Debra Jacobson
University of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Gary Jones
Graphic Arts Technical Foundation

Wayne Pferdehirt
Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center

Written: June 1996
Updated: June 8, 2011

Produced with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Note: Reasonable effort has been made to review and verify information in this document. Neither PNEAC and it's partners, nor the technical reviewers and their agencies, assume responsibility for completeness and accuracy of the information, or it's interpretation. The reader is responsible for making the appropriate decisions with respect to their operation, specific materials employed, work practices, equipment and regulatory obligations. It is imperative to verify current applicable regulatory requirements with state and/or local regulatory agencies.

© 1996 PNEAC