When to Use Sustainable Media

At SGIA 2011, MACtac® Graphic Products launched a new line of more sustainable films. The line includes IMAGin® VERDE™ media and PERMACOLOR® VERDE laminates. These films were designed with the environment in mind. They are made of polypropylene film, which is free of chlorine and phthalates. They are all vinyl free which is much better for our environment because those harmful chemicals will not end up in our water table. These films also feature emulsion adhesives, which are not only better for the environment upon disposal, but the coating process is greener than solvent coating because water vapor is the only byproduct. MACtac is the only manufacturer to have a complete system of white printable media and matched laminates in three finishes, all touting these characteristics.

There is a new movement in the graphics industry in regard to green solutions. Let’s start by saying: The MACtac films are not “green,” but rather greener, or more sustainable than the vinyl-based media and laminates currently used in our industry. Along with the green movement there is a lot of “green-washing” going on out there. Which is basically the idea of touting that something is green when in reality it may only be .001% better for the environment than its counterpart. So be cautious when any manufacturer says they are green; since there are no regulations on how you can market yourself, it is easy to be misled.

The fact is there is a lot of opportunity out there for more sustainable graphics in the industry. Large companies are looking for more responsible solutions to represent their brands. For instance, Wal-Mart has recently started specifying non-vinyl signage for their stores. The 2012 Olympic Games, to be held in London, have specified IMAGin and PERMACOLOR Verde for most of the Olympic Village signage. Many companies are building new facilities, and remodeling old ones, and are encouraged to go after LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council, which is a government-recognized specification that proves you have a certain amount of green or sustainable materials in your building. Local municipalities are also looking for greener solutions for short term signage in schools, hospitals and office buildings. There is a lot of opportunity out there for this growing segment of the signage industry, and now that you have a little more knowledge you can be confident selling this advantage to a customer.