Europoint Display, a subsidiary of The Paper Company (PaperCo), is working with a number of leading supermarkets, high street brands, designers and printers to replace in-store signage, packaging and displays with more environmentally friendly substrates. In the coming six to nine months the high street will witness a growth of graphics and in-store signage made from materials that are far less harmful to the environment.
Europoint’s Environmental Solutions Director, Vic Adie says: “We’re meeting with some very big groups – some of the UK’s largest supermarkets, high street brands, design companies and printers. There’s a huge interest in alternative substrates that are environmentally benign, for example, ones that don’t contain non-recyclable plastics or composites and so don’t contribute to landfill. It’s a question of retailers looking at what they’re producing and asking whether there’s a better way of doing things. Retailers are particularly enthusiastic – they genuinely want to make the switch. Many of these alternatives don’t cost any more than the substrates they’re currently using, and in some cases less. So potentially there are financial as well as environmental benefits.”
The initiative to promote greener substrates to retailers was launched in the summer of 2008 with the development of a boxed swatch of alternative media, the EnviroBox, supported by the industry’s first PC-based calculator to assess the overall environmental impact of substrates, and a complementary environmental report. Throughout 2009 Europoint will continue to use the materials to encourage debate among retailers, designers and printers regarding which substrates are most appropriate to help them lower their environmental impact.
Each EnviroBox contains a raft of products for banners, self-adhesives for windows, rigid sheets and films that are viable replacements for PVC-based products but are less harmful to the environment. It also contains new, less harmful versions of existing products that can be used to produce interior displays, point-of-sale displays, cartons, exterior signs, display boards, hanging sign and window graphics. Each EnviroBox also includes an environmental report Plastics in the Environment, which has been produced by Vic Adie.
Europoint’s environmental impact calculator, based on a spreadsheet format, ranks materials on the impact that they have throughout their lifecycle (i.e. the amount of recycled raw materials used to make them, their suitability to replace PVC substrates, biodegradability and recyclability) and gives users an overall rating for each one. The company believes that the calculator, the first of its kind, will help dispel much of the confusion surrounding the range of materials and help retailers identify suitable alternatives.
The company, which is also currently developing a bespoke range of greener substrates for some of the UK’s largest retail brands, will also use the meetings to research what kinds of substrates they want to see developed. It will then work with suppliers to develop the next generation of environmentally friendly substrates.
Adie added: “The EnviroBox initiative is part of our strategic decision to not just promote a range of sustainable products, but to develop them too. We are running a number of trials for major retailers to develop new, less environmentally harmful products for a range of signage, packaging and graphic products. New substrates will be added to the EnviroBox as they are developed and made commercially viable. In some cases we are talking about replacing hundreds or thousands of tonnes of a product that has to be sent to landfill with one that can be completely recycled. The difference that retailers can make to the environment is huge.”
With a successful and well established background as a supplier to the screen printing industry since the early 1990s, Europoint Display, a subsidiary of The Paper Company (PaperCo), has evolved and grown in response to the changing dynamics affecting its core markets. In addition to the ranges of conventional products for screen printing, the company also stocks an ever growing range of media, substrates and inks for the ‘graphic image producer’ of the 21st century and is now a significant equipment supplier to the signage, wide format and digital sectors. This is supported by a full range of conversion facilities, including flatbed saws, wall saws, guillotining and a sheeting from reels service.
Europoint Display is able to provide an unrivalled service as it holds stock close to every major city in the UK. As well as its five regional sales offices in Glasgow, Tyne and Wear, Manchester, Bristol and London, Europoint Display also operates through the PaperCo network.