Environmental performance of digital printing: Literature study

Pentti Viluksela, Merja Kariniemi, Minna Nors

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    The objective of this literature study is to summarise the present situation and future prospects of digital printing technologies and markets, to review the existing publicly available information on the environmental impacts of digital printing, and to present suitable indicators for assessing the environmental performance of digital printing. Digital printing methods have developed considerably in recent years, both in terms of quality and productivity. New products based on the variable data printing capability of digital printing have been introduced. Digital methods have also taken market share from mechanical printing methods in the on-demand and short-run production of traditional products. The market share of digital printing will continue to increase in the future. There is little published research on the environmental impacts of digital printing. The analysed literature indicates that digital methods have a higher energy and ink/toner consumption than mechanical methods, but their chemicals and water consumption and waste output are lower. Paper consumption and emissions to air are difficult to assess due to the lack of data. More research is needed to obtain a better and more reliable understanding. Environmental indicators used in earlier studies of printing can be used for digital printing as well. These include physical and monetary input and output figures like energy and materials consumption, emissions and waste output. The suitable functional units are the weight and the surface area of products, e.g. tonne of printed products or million duplex printed A4 sheets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages106
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7631-9
    ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7630-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes


    • digital printing
    • environmental impacts
    • indicators


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