My friend Carrie and I were talking today about the current trendy thing to do is to ride the "green" wave by using recycled papers and using soy inks in letterpress. This takes me back to when I was first setting up shop and I was trying to decide which inks to use on my press.
Soy-based inks have such a lovely, environmentally-friendly sound to it. But if you look into it, the formulations aren't total soy formulations. Usually soy-based inks are about 20% soy, 80% everything you would normally find in regular rubber-based or oil-based ink. Soy-based inks use the same exact pigments as rubber-based or oil-based inks, and not many pigments are very environmentally friendly. Soy-based inks also dry in can from what I've read, so if a printer doesn't use their ink often, the ink will eventually dry in can, creating a top layer dry "skin" that needs to be disposed of to get to the good ink underneath.
I ultimately decided on rubber-based ink because rubber-based inks don't dry in cans, creating less waste. In letterpress, you use just a little dab, hardly any ink at all, and so one of those one pound cans of ink will last YEARS.
As for paper, Joie Studio does offer recycled cardstock and envelopes in addition to the 100% cotton stock that I use. My preference is for the cotton stock, but I do try to pair the stock with envelopes made from recycled paper whenever the design will allow. Clients need only ask for recycled stock on custom orders. More important to me is to limit my waste and spoilage by offering only papers that I know will print well.
So while the printing here at Joie Studio isn't powered by wind energy and hasn't gone totally "green," you can rest assured that my choices have minimizing waste as a top priority, which is, to the very least, eco-minded.