Focus Press

Digital Printing Services

Saving resources through collaboration: How smart design can save everyone money

We’re well versed in the benefits of working in partnership with our supply chain and customers. It’s meant significant savings in both dollars and in environmental impact. And with our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in place we’ve been able to focus our efforts on ongoing reductions in energy usage. But it’s more than that. Our team is motivated by the successes of water and waste stream management programs. Success breeds success, so we look for ways for more sustainable results for every print job we do.

How we saved 36 tons of paper

Focus was awarded a print contract involving more than 150 kinds of saddle stitched books with a total volume of 156 tons of paper.

That’s a lot of paper. So with an eye on the most sustainable way to approach this, we suggested a change to the design of the publication. Not for design’s sake. But to give paper savings of 8%.

Our suggestion was simple – remove the bleed from the text pages.

No other changes were made to the publications; they were still A4 finished size, printed in colour onto the same weight of paper as previously used. But because there was no bleed, we were able to reduce the size of the paper used, and minimized the amount of trimming needed.

Hardly surprising, our customer took our advice. And each year since we have saved around 12 tons of paper on this contract. The total paper saved since 2005 is greater than 36 tons! 36 tons a bit hard to picture? How about 700 trees? 12 cubic metres of landfill? 1,500,000 litres of water?

Well then picture a saving of $70,000.


The experience of Focus Press over the past several years has been extremely positive. Our sustainability efforts have led to a lower drain on resources, and created efficiencies and cost savings along our journey. Not only for us, but for our supply chain partners and customers alike. Taking the time to think about ways to improve sustainability, and having a demonstrated commitment to making a positive change can and does lead to dual bottom line and environmental benefits. Focus Press’ experience, gaining real benefits from ISO 14001, through process changes, and policy commitments to go green, have helped place it as Australia’s leading green printer, and positioned it for sustainable growth into the future.

How our environmental management system helped us reduce water use

One of the cornerstones of our sustainability strategy is our environmental management system. Focus Press is one of the few printers to have a certified system to the international standard ISO 14001. This helps us to not only plan our green strategies, but also lets us see the results of our efforts.

50% Water Reduction

For an Australian business, being water wise is a major concern. Using our ISO 14001 system we are able to benchmark water use against our print production. Without collecting and benchmarking the data it wouldn’t be possible to understand the effects of our green initiatives, and to drive further improvements.

The above graph demonstrates water usage at Focus Press between July 2001 and July 2008 (per unit of production).

Once we started focusing on water usage the savings were immediate and strikingly large. Every year between 2000 and 2005 we experienced a reduction in water use (per unit of production) of more than 50%.

When we achieve results like this, the effect on staff morale and our focus on sustainability are incredibly positive. Ongoing water shortages in Sydney have elevated the importance of our good results and proved that our sustainability initiative did have value.

For us this demonstrates the positive benefits of our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in helping us to understand how to reduce our impacts through measuring and managing our resource usage.

How a small effort in switching from virgin pulp to 100% recycled paper has a big impact

The Case for Change

Many tonnes of paper are used every day in printing all around the world. This is putting alarming pressure on forests globally. Much of this resting on virgin rainforests which are being lost at the rate of around 160,000km2 per year. That’s the equivalent of a landmass the size of England and Wales. And much of this virgin timber winds up in paper products.

Our philosophy has always been to operate lean and clean, so there was a great opportunity for us to reduce our impact on the environment associated with using virgin paper pulp. The case for using recycled paper was fairly clear.

The Case For 100% Recycled Paper

Paper made from virgin fibre requires more energy and resources than recycled paper. That’s a cold hard fact. Using a reputable calculation from the Environmental Defence Fund we are able to identify the difference in impacts between using virgin and recycled paper.

Comparison: 1 Ton of Virgin Fiber Paper vs 1 Ton of 100% Recycled Paper

Unit of Measure# Resource Used / Waste Created 100% Recycled  Paper Virgin Fiber Savings Using 100% Recycled
Tons Wood 0 3 3
BTU’s* Energy 22,000,000 38,000,000 16,000,000
CO2e lbs Greenhouse Gas 3,582 5,690 2,108
Gallons Wastewater 10,325 19,075 8,750
lbs Solid Waste 1,155 2,278 1,123

# US units used
*BTU: British Thermal Unit – a basic measure of thermal energy, One BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. One Btu is equal to about 1.06 kilojoules.

It’s a pretty compelling case for the use of 100% recycled paper. It is clearly a
more environmentally friendly proposition than specifying paper made from virgin fibre.

It doesn’t stop there. 100% recycled paper has some positive properties which make it possible to use a lighter weight paper when substituting for virgin fibre paper. For example, the bulk and opacity of 130gsm 100% recycled paper is equivalent to 150gsm paper made from virgin fibre.

Here’s an example. A print project requires 1.5 tons of 150gsm paper using virgin pulp. The equivalent project using 100% recycled paper will use only 1.3 tons of paper (substituting 130gsm for 150gsm). From an environmental perspective, using 1.3 tons of recycled paper in place of 1.5 tons of virgin fibre leads to the following resource reductions:

Comparison: 1.5 Tons of Virgin Fiber Paper vs 1.3 Tons of 100% Recycled Paper

Unit of Measure# Resource Used / Waste Created 1.3 Tons 100% Recycled Paper 1.5 Tons Virgin Fiber Paper Savings Using 100% Recycled Paper
Tons Wood 0 5 5
BTU’s* Energy 26,400,000 57,000,000 30,600,000
CO2e lbs Greenhouse Gas 4,298.4 8,535 4,236.6
Gallons Wastewater 12,390 28,612.5 16,222.5
lbs Solid Waste 1,386 3,417 2,031

# US units used
*BTU: British Thermal Unit – a basic measure of thermal energy, One BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. One Btu is equal to about 1.06 kilojoules.

While recycled paper is often more expensive than a virgin fibre, there’s an immediate cost saving of 15% when using recycled paper through weight alone which negates the higher price. Factor in reductions in carbon emissions from transportation, reduced manufacturing waste, water conservation and lower energy costs, and it makes even more environmental sense.

Focus Press has made it policy, backed by our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, to remain committed to using recycled paper stocks wherever possible.

Sustainable Printing

Being environmentally friendly, or at least being seen to be, is a growing priority with lots of businesses these days. Luckily being green is gaining momentum.

There’s been a growing awareness in recent years about what it actually means for a business to be “green”. And it’s a dual awareness that covers business efficiency and environmental impact.

Essentially businesses are talking about sustainability. Often without even knowing it.

So what does that mean? Well, among other commercial priorities, like ensuring business continuity and managing their risk, it means that businesses are now realising that environmental sustainability can have a big an impact on the bottom line. And it turns out they aren’t necessarily competing objectives – being eco friendly and turning a buck.

Achieving a sustainable green outcome can also lead to a sustainable commercial outcome.

For those businesses not really committed, at a philosophical level, to responsible environmental practices, this is very good news. Going through the motions and putting in place a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program need not be a matter of ‘green-washing’ to appease the tree-huggers. Environmental sustainability can actually be very good business. Financially. And not just from a PR perspective. There’s enough evidence to turn the hardest cynics into sustainability believers.

Focus Press can speak with some authority about this, because we’ve actually done it.

A bit about sustainability

Sustainability is one of those trendy buzz words that’s often thrown around but more often than not it’s with little understanding of what it actually means. The Latin the word is based on means ‘to hold up from below’. Most dictionaries say something like ‘the ability to continue without risk of failure or collapse’. Another view is to think of it as meeting the needs of the present without ruining the ability to meet future needs.

In business terms, an organisation that has control of costs, cash flow, product development, sales and marketing, good processes for managing demand and opportunities for growth could be thought of as sustainable. It should keep on as a going concern.

In environmental terms, sustainability implies that an action can be continued indefinitely with little, or at least a manageable, impact on the environment.


As a green concept this has surprisingly been around since the 1700s. Surprisingly close to home for Focus Press, it all began with logging in Europe when foresters realised that timber needed to be managed with more care, and that if they continued with their current practices, the forest would disappear. So they changed them to make them sustainable and planted more trees. Ironically this is a battle that’s still being fought today, with FSC and PEFCprograms at the pointy end of the fight.

The funny thing is sustainability doesn’t have to mean making a sacrifice. By eliminating waste in materials and processes, by better recycling, by increasing the useful lifetime of equipment and installing new technology, a business can reduce its energy needs and cut operational budgets. Those are efficiency gains. That goes to the bottom line.

There’s theory, and then there’s the real-world where this has to be put into practice. Let’s look at a few ways that Focus Press has accomplished the dual benefits of achieving environmental and cost savings goals, and created a more sustainable business.

Dependable business printing – Sydney and Australia-wide

When it comes to printing, you need a print partner you can depend on. At Focus Press, our philosophy is simple: Look after the little things and big things will happen. This means attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to customer service.

Our clients stay with us because we make big things happen for them. Whether it’s an urgent digital job, a huge offset printing run or a project demanding absolute perfection, we deliver for you every time. We’re a printer of brochures, annual reports, books, magazines, business cards and more. Find out more about our capabilities.

Online Printing – a Sydney printing company serving Australia
Our online printing service gives you access to easy, fast and cost effective business printing solutions no matter where you are. With our online workflow system, uploading, proofing and approving your job couldn’t be easier. Our two Sydney printing centres and in-house mailing and distribution service ensure your job is printed and distributed on time, every time.

Leadership in green printing
We’re Australia’s leading green printer, with ISO 14001 accreditation for our environmental management system and FSC and PEFC certification. We’re a Silver Partner (the highest level) of the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program. Simply put, we’re not going green, we’ve always been green. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost any more. Find out more about our green story or contact us to get a quote for your next printing job.
Want to make your next print project carbon neutral at no extra cost?

Contact Focus Press for your next printing project
Contact us to discuss your printing requirements, to request a quote or to find out more about our green printing services,

Closing the loop by engaging supply chain in environmental management

We realised that going it alone wouldn’t have the biggest positive impact on the environment. It made sense to look along our entire supply chain to maximize environmental sustainability. So we talked to the business involved. Our paper suppliers. Transportation companies. Printing consumables like inks and blankets. And most importantly, our customers.

We got together with our key customers and suppliers. We asked them to consider the effects of print manufacturing so they could firstly get an understanding of our commitment to sustainability, and then to work with us to build a win-win system to minimise waste. Often these were simple, and completely logical when we stood back to look at the results.

Here are some examples:

Suppliers: Inwards Goods Delivery

When we considered our waste we found large amounts were being generated because suppliers were delivering goods on pallets which could not be re-used. They were either broken or in odd custom sizes.

So we talked to our various suppliers and were able to get agreement on only using pallets of a standard size and in good condition. Simple!

The immediate outcome was surprising. Waste was drastically reduced. Our cost of landfill waste disposal immediately dropped by 50%

But it gets even better. In 2001 our landfill costs were $7,200. In 2008, and generating 5 times the business compared to 2001, the cost of waste to landfill had dropped $1,200. In real terms, that’s a cost saving of over 86%! Not even counting the environmental benefit.

It’s clear to see (Jan 2002) when our staff bought into proper waste stream management and our suppliers started to understand what is was we wanted from them in terms of reducing packaging and using standard pallet sizes. These are the two important ingredients of our success here: involving staff and clients.

This result is what Focus Press is most proud, and shows that our waste stream management program is working.

Suppliers: Ink Delivery

Another large impact was created by used ink tins. Ink tins aren’t an efficient method of delivering ink to a printing press. Between 7% and 15% of waste ink is left in every ink tin after use. We were wasting both money and ink.

So a different method of ink delivery was implemented with the help of our suppliers. The newer method uses plastic cartridges and a plunge system to dispense the ink. This method uses 99.9% of the ink in the canister and the plastic container then can be recycled.

Customers: Landfill Waste Reduction

When our customers heard we were looking at ways to reduce waste, and increase efficiency, they wanted in. Environmental sustainability isn’t just about Focus Press, so we were happy to help our customers reduce their footprint as well. We found that many of our customers were interested in “closing the loop” with packaging and thereby reducing their waste to landfill.

So we started a service to pick up cartons and pallets for re-use. We also implemented a paper waste recycling service at no cost to the customer. The outcome has been very good for the environment. Some customers now have very little waste to dispose of when printing with Focus. And it’s good business for us.