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Sustainability

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When it comes to sustainability, we don’t just talk the talk.

Many brands like to pay lip service to sustainability, but at Metro Print we walk the walk. As printers, we feel a responsibility to do all we can to elevate industry sustainability standards and minimise our environmental impact. And as a family company, we have an inherent drive to contribute towards protecting the earth for future generations. But how exactly do we do it?

We work with one of the world’s most sustainable products: paper

It’s a common misconception that offices need to move towards being paperless in order to do their bit for the environment, when, in fact, paper is now one of the world’s most sustainable products. Often cited as a leading cause of deforestation (when the main offenders are actually unsustainable agriculture and mining), the reality is that paper production in Australia – and many other continents around the world – comes from strictly managed planted forests, which have been specifically grown for this purpose. Instead of destroying forests, the paper industry actually helps create them, and these forests have many ecological benefits, such as CO2 absorption, oxygen production, reducing soil erosion and creating wildlife corridors. (For every tonne of wood a forest produces, it removes 1.47 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and replaces it with 1.07 tonnes of oxygen.)

Not only are paper and cardboard easily recycled materials (Australia recycles 87% of its paper and cardboard, one of the highest rates in the world), they’re also completely biodegradable, leaving no trace once they’ve been broken down by the soil. This means that from tree to paper to recycling or rubbish, paper has one of the cleanest, greenest life cycles of any material used by humans.

At Metro Print, we source our paper and board from trusted supply chains that promote and endorse sustainably managed forests. Over 95% of our projects are printed on PEFC® and FSC® certified stocks that come from ISO14001 EMS-accredited manufacturers. Many of our standard papers are also 100% recycled and certified carbon neutral, and we will always advise our customers on the best sustainable paper stock for their project.

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We’re powered by renewable energy

To us, renewable energy just makes sense, and in 2019 we installed 135 40kw solar panels across the roof of our Melbourne facility to maximise our solar power use across the business, producing, on average, 51 megawatts of green energy per year. We also use renewable GreenPower energy for the approximately 15% of energy we use from the grid to support our solar when the sun isn't shining, saving several tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Our state-of-the-art technology minimises water wastage

Traditional printing processes can take a heavy environmental toll in terms of water, which is why we’ve invested in state-of-the-art waterless printing technology. This offset printing technique removes the ‘dampening system’ used to keep a non-image area free of ink, instead replacing it with a layer of silicone, which ensures water consumption is kept to a minimum during each print run.

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Our paper waste gets turned into new paper (and our printing plates into new plates)

We recycle approximately 6.5 tonnes of paper per month (more than the weight of the average African elephant), comprising offcuts, overs, packaging and other waste paper. The paper is collected several times a week and taken to a certified recycling plant, where it’s sorted into grades – with the majority of it being taken to local mills, such as the Maryvale Paper Mill in the LaTrobe Valley, Victoria. There it is turned back into recycled paper and cardboard products such as packaging, office copy paper, envelopes and even playing cards.

We also recycle approximately 6 tonnes of aluminum per year from our printing plates. Aluminium is an infinitely recyclable material, and recycling uses 95% less energy than creating it new. Our aluminum waste is sent to a recycling plant in Victoria, where it’s used to create items such as drinking cans, building materials and, of course, more printing plates.

We’ve teamed up with OneTreePlanted to plant a tree for every print project

With over 123 million hectares of native forests, Australia has the seventh largest forest area in the world, making up three per cent of the earth’s forests. We now plant a tree for each of our print projects via OneTreePlanted – so every time you choose to print with us, you’ll be helping to plant trees across Australia to recover forests affected by the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires and restoring native habitat vital for wildlife. We know it’s a small gesture, but as Paul Kelly says: “From little things, big things grow.”

At Metro Print, we recognise that sustainability is an ongoing journey

We’re committed to being as transparent as possible as we continue to review and improve on our company environmental objectives and targets, and welcome feedback from our team, clients and suppliers. At Metro Print, we will always strive to do better – and believe that, together, we can help contribute to a cleaner, greener print industry that benefits us all.

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