Green Printmaking

On some level, printmaking inevitably mirrors culture, right? So if culture’s hottest buzz word was “digital” but now is “green,” it stands to reason that the same would be true in printmaking. It doesn’t just apply to fuel economy. In the printshop, we’re doing what we can… We’ve made the switch to non-toxic grounds and cleaning products. We’ve tried to minimize waste by implemented material-saving procedures into the routine of our shops. So is there more to do? I’ve been looking into sustainable/eco-friendly paper sources…

Legion Paper has a comprehensive list of papers that is cross-referenced by category: alternative energy, chlorine-free, handmade, mill-certified, and tree free. This is a great resource.


Hahnemühle appears to be at the forefront in terms of producing a bamboo fine art paper (not to mention being at the forefront of allusions to the karate-chopping power of print- see pic above). In keeping with their fairly rigorous environmental policy, they’ve released a 265gsm mixed media paper, a 105gsm sketch paper, and a 290gsm digital paper all made from bamboo (I am still waiting to hear back from them about plans for a traditional print paper). I’ve read mixed reviews about bamboo. The pros are that it grows incredibly fast -one third faster than the fastest growing tree- and it can grow almost anywhere without pesticides or chemical fertalizers. Pre-existing, wood-based technologies can be used to process bamboo. In terms of cons, I did find one particularly damning article in Earth Island Journal about the negative impact of bamboo products.

I know- “green” is trendy. At the moment there is a lot of public pressure on industry to step up their environmental efforts, but whether the motivation is financial or moral, I think it deserves some acknowledgment. Legion and Hahnemühle are just two companies so this isn’t even close to a comprehensive list but I was hoping to start a conversation.

Bookmark / Share / Print
Categories: Resources

Comments are closed.