As we ring out the first month of the new year, many of us are still clinging to our New Year's resolutions. Most of our resolutions are about improving our habits to better ourselves—eat healthier, work out more, budget money better, watch fewer TV shows with the words "Real Housewives" in the title . . . you get the idea—but what if one of our resolutions was to improve our habits to better the environment around us? Let's pledge to work together to use more green and energy-efficient signs and sign materials in 2014!
But where to begin? Well, it all depends on the type of signage you want for your company. In most cases, there should be an eco-friendly version of the materials you need for the kind of sign you're looking to get, and if there aren't many options, there are always ways you can trim down the amount of materials you're using and recycle the old signage once it's worn out.
Having lighted electrical signs are a great way to draw attention to your business. But how can we make them a little more eco-friendly?
The green goal for electric signs is to shine as brightly as possible while expending as little energy as possible. Well, you can't spell "LEED certification" without LED! Lighted signs that use LED components are way more energy efficient than older lighting techniques, such as neon. Look for Energy Star rated technology that will be guaranteed to eat up less energy than their non-rated counterparts. You can also set timers so that your lighted signs only light up after the sun goes down and turn off after your store or office has closed. Doing this will not only save energy, but it will help keep down your utilities bill!
Okay, so you bought a trade show display but your company only attends one trade show per year. What can you do with that pop up booth besides chuck it in the dumpster? If you designed it well enough, your company can recycle and use it for tons of things!
- Training meetings
- Recruiting new employees
- Lobby displays
- Sales pitches
- Management conferences
If the look of your display needs to be updated, recycle as many of the parts of the old display as you can! Elements like frames for nomadic pop up displays can last for decades if they're treated with care. And, if it really is time for you to get a completely new display, consider donating the old display to a charity or nonprofit. It will be easier and more inexpensive for them to change and tweak the logos and information on your old displays than it would be for them to buy an entirely new one.
This is an awesome display, but imagine the company wanted their design to start going in an entirely different direction. Donating this still perfectly good metal structure is a much better option than throwing it out.
A lot of sign materials can be recycled or made from recycled products. Your signs can be made from recycled aluminum, scrap wood, recycled packing materials, recycled plastics...basically anything that CAN be recycled! Here's a short and (woefully) incomplete list of some sign materials brands that are keepin' it green:
- BIOflex by Ultraflex: This is the only biodegradable banner material on the market. Don't worry, this doesn't mean your banner will disintegrate right outside your storefront! The material is designed to attract microbes in the conditions it would be exposed to in a landfill (darkness, moisture, and high heat). The microbes then break down the banner material into dust. Isn't science amazing?
- Sign.Foam3: This foam substrate is made up of a minimum of 16% green materials and each sheet contains approximately 240 recycled plastic water bottles.
- Enviroboard: This corrugated material is 100% recyclable and certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). It's also great for making displays!
- EcoBoard: This moisture-resistant material is 100% repulpable making it super eco-friendly. It also has a long shelf life lasting up to four months outdoors and even longer indoors. This company also came out with a new wood-substitute material that's great for outdoor signs and can be sandblasted. It's more resilient than wood—so much so that they guarantee it for up to 25 years!
- Bamboo Plywood: This plywood is extremely flexible and can be ordered to custom size and thickness. Great for both indoor and outdoor signage, bamboo plywood is made from 100% rapidly renewable bamboo and strong (but low-emitting) adhesives.