Q3 Paper Outlook — Beaten to a Pulp
"It had a new category called 'Environmentally Sound Materials.' Entries must use at least three of the listed processes or materials, which we did," the marketing manager explains. The list includes: "recycled papers, soy- or vegetable-based inks, direct-to-plate, aqueous coatings, energy-curable inks and coatings, or other environmentally sound product not mentioned here."
The perception is that it costs more to use recycled papers and environmentally friendly processes, Altman admits. "However, our process can't be priced higher or it won't be sellable in the current market environment. We are price competitive but, for us, it's not a question of choice. This is how we print and what we have to offer."
While using recycled stock is still offered as an option, Altman Printing has adopted recycled papers as its house stocks for web printing, the marketing manager notes.
"We try to swing clients to recycled stocks if the materials meet their needs and appropriate stocks are available," Altman explains. "Products with postconsumer content are not available in all types and grades of paper. We can get a good selection of white stocks, but colors and special finishes can be hard to find. When they are available, often it's in a minimum order of 5,000 or 10,000 lbs. and the lead time can be months. That's a big order for a small commercial shop, even on our web press." Altman classifies the company as a small web shop since it only has 24 employees
The combination printer still runs conventional inks on its sheetfed presses and typically doesn't use recycled stocks for that work. That's partly because the firm has been focusing on web work, but also because the variety of stock requests makes it difficult to justify having a cut-sheet house stock, he explains. Performance isn't an issue, since the shop hasn't seen any difference in how recycled grades handle in production, Altman says. "The grade level, regardless of whether the stock is recycled or not, is what impacts how a stock runs on-press," he adds.