Pushing forward for print’s circular economy

The ideal green building will promote a healthy environment for all involved, and it will not disrupt the land, water, resources and energy in and around the building.


Maintaining momentum for any project is a lot of the battle for success. And the bolder the idea, the harder it gets to keep the energy coming.

It’s hard with lofty ideas such as the Circular Economy, which aims to reshape business models so that we stop trashing resources and start using them more cleverly.

The good news is that the people behind some of the braver efforts are sticking with it. Carlsberg recently presented a prototype of its Green Fiber Bottle made from wood fibre. It doesn’t look much like a conventional beer bottle, but of course that comes as no surprise. At the

At the moment the world’s first completely bio-degradable beer bottle lacks the branding of conventional glass but by 2018, when it is expected to be ready, the bottle will have the classic Carlsberg colours and branding.

So progress of a sort. Keeping the momentum requires engagement, and for most printers, packaging or otherwise, this can be tough. The questions we face, starting with defining what sustainability means in the first place, are hard enough. 

The process is one of constant outreach and exploration and of staying in touch with what is happening with Circular Economic progress.

We can all contribute, even if it is only in small ways. We can for instance look at our own businesses, and look at what blocks our progress towards improved sustainability. 

Do we make waste collection simply? Are our recycling points accessible? Do we opt for convenience over sustainable practises? Do we understand our key materials flows? Have we looked at all possibilities for selling our waste to third parties? If we are serious about moving towards a Circular Economy, these are the types of questions we should be asking.

Fortunately some very large organisations are asking them, and on a massive scale. The World Economic Forum has outlined four Circular Economy objectives: 

  • to develop a community of players actively engaged in moving towards a Circular Economy
  • to build awareness in the financial community
  • to create an investor network for the Circular Economy
  • to advance Circular Economy ideas into key emerging markets, such as China and other ASEAN countries
  • to work with governments and regulators to develop policies that support the Circular Economy.

Whether any of these efforts will bear fruit it is impossible to say, but we can be sure that individual efforts can make a difference. They might not appear to be anything much, but even the smallest change eventually contributes to bigger changes.

Keeping the momentum is what makes the difference.