By Lew Bedell
In 2005, the founders of Artistic Photo Canvas and its freshly assembled team of imaging experts didn't jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon… In reality – when it comes to the canvas printing industry – it's much more fair to say we drove it.
From the beginning – and in stark contrast to other canvas labs even to this day – we made choices that would be right for your images and right for the planet. So, on the occasion of Earth Day, we wanted to share some of the milestones on our journey of environmental stewardship with you. We hope you'll agree that on Earth Day – and every day – it matters.
To reduce APC's impact on the environment, we committed ourselves from the very outset to using a superior set of materials to create each and every canvas print we sell. For example, unlike 99% of inkjet canvas buyers, we pay a little more to procure canvas that is produced without optical brightener additives, fluorescent whitening agents and other harmful chemical agents. Ironically, the higher quality canvas we print on is a significantly brighter white to begin with in spite of the disuse of these chemical agents. And because there are no OBAs to break down, our prints do not fade or yellow with the passage of time.
In addition – and also unlike the majority of our competitors – the protective coatings we apply to each canvas are water-based instead of solvent-based. Solvent-based coatings not only create toxic fumes that are dangerous to those who apply them, they require the production and use of chemical agents that are known to seep into groundwater. When we made the choice to forego solvents, we were determined not to sacrifice the archival and UV-inhibiting properties of a great top coat. It turns out, our unique combination of canvas, inks and coatings has been rewarded with a rating that means our canvases will withstand deterioration for in excess of 150 years, this according to Wilhelm Imaging Research, the leading worldwide authority on print longevity.
Some of our competitors started using cheap plastic stretcher frames, but we found them to be both aesthetically and environmentally wrong. Instead, we chose to use solid-wood stretcher bars made from wood harvested in managed forests – and mill them in-house so we could recycle all waste. But we recognized we should do more to help reverse the ravages of deforestation. So, APC committed to supporting the efforts of Global ReLeaf, a program of American Forests that has already resulted in the planting and care of more than 25 million trees through 500 projects worldwide.
APC's commitment to sustainability has even extended to the way we pack and ship the canvases we create. Our slim, heavyweight shipping cartons were custom designed to avoid excess volume and are made with roughly 30% post-consumer recycled content. All scrap cardboard created during our custom manufacturing process is baled and sent for recycling. And – unlike competitors that fill their cartons with foam peanuts, plastic air bags, bubble wrap, kraft paper and other wasteful cushioning materials – APC's shipping cartons have been specifically engineered to effectively utilize minimal packing materials and instead leverage air space to protect our canvases in transit.
Perhaps just as important, we've worked to keep our canvas print prices remarkably low – competitive even with the inferior and environmentally unfriendly canvas prints sold by “traditional” labs – so you don't have to sacrifice savings to do good for the planet.