Kavalan PVC-free accelerates Hollywood Monster’s sustainability

In the three years since switching to PVC-free Kavalan banner materials, Birmingham-based signage printer Hollywood Monster has achieved a 67% reduction in the environmental impact of its banner output and accelerated its journey to becoming fully sustainable by 2025.

In March 2021 signage printer, Hollywood Monster took a bold step towards sustainability, announcing its aim to switch all of its internal and external banner work to PVC-free Kavalan materials. The response from the company’s customer base was very positive and in the three years since, the company has produced 500,000m² of PVC-free work for customers, saving at least 258 metric tonnes CO2 eq.2 – the equivalent of 467 economy class seats between London and New York.

“Every advantage of PVC, but none of its eco-malignance”

In 2021 Hollywood Monster had long been searching for an alternative to PVC. Recognising this, the company’s long-time partner CMYUK introduced Hollywood Monster to Kavalan’s PVC-free solutions.

Hollywood Monster have reduced the environmental impact of their products

According to Michael Crook, Commercial Director of CMYUK: “The wide format digital print industry has been on the hunt for viable green solutions for a couple of decades. There had been several PVC-free alternatives over the years in the display market, but they just didn’t match the performance of PVC. They were expensive and disappointing. When we saw Kavalan we realised this was a game-changer in all respects. It has every advantage of traditional PVC, but none of its eco-malignance.”

Hollywood Monster were able to test Kavalan’s PVC-free materials for more than a year before making the decision to switch all of its banner materials thanks to the support of CMYUK. They ensured Hollywood Monster had access to all Kavalan materials to evaluate its print performance, conduct weld testing and to produce samples for key customers.

According to Simon McKenzie, CEO of Hollywood Monster, the most surprising thing about making the change to Kavalan has been how quickly it became a viable product. “It wasn’t something we were aware of in 2020, but by February 2021 we were able to make the statement of switching to PVC-free. Manufacturers have a responsibility to support printers on their sustainability journeys and they took that on board and supported us in making the change quickly and effortlessly.”

Kavalan have developed their PVC-free material to meet customers needs

McKenzie speaks highly of Kavalan’s responsiveness to feedback: “We were impressed with the dedication Kavalan showed to providing a suitable product. When the product first launched,” he explains, “it had a one-year coating, which meant it wasn’t a suitable choice for the majority of our customers. Kavalan then came back with a two-year coating option and the material has continued to improve.”

True value isn’t only about cost

Hollywood Monster’s customers, many of whom were already looking for viable alternatives to PVC themselves, welcomed the move. “We had a really positive response from our customers and they embraced the new options,” says McKenzie. “With long-lasting relationships between our customers and ourselves, they trusted that we would only make materials available that gave the same level of strength, durability, and quality they were used to.”

For Hollywood Monster, the decision to switch to Kavalan wasn’t only about meeting the growing market demand for sustainable materials; it needed to make financial sense too. McKenzie explains that for many businesses, sustainable options are a huge driver for the decisions they make, but cost will always play a big part. “With the technical advancements Kavalan has made to make it a superior product, the market has embraced it. Demand and capacity output has grown exponentially, which has enabled the price point to sit more in line with PVC options. And as expected, customers are willing to pay that bit more for a sustainable product that delivers the qualities they are looking for.”

Crook echoes this, explaining: “People tend to stick with what they know. This is why CMYUK has an eco-materials portfolio that can provide high quality eco alternatives for all popular applications. It’s all about knowing that fit-for-purpose substitutes exist. It’s also about understanding that true value isn’t aligned to the cheapest cost, although these days the cost of eco materials is much closer to traditional materials than ever before.”

Growing demand for sustainable materials

Kavalan materials are now a core product for Hollywood Monster and according to McKenzie, it is one that has become more commonplace in the market. As demand from customers wanting to use more sustainable materials has increased, he says, other print businesses have followed in Hollywood Monster’s footsteps.

According to Crook: “Over the past five years, sustainability has become a central concern. All the big global brands and corporations have sustainability targets to meet, and eco-responsibility is increasingly factored into jobs. There is a real move away from greenwashing as people are aware of the issues around climate which aren’t somewhere in the future, we are seeing the effects of climate change right now.”

Long-term commitment to sustainability

Hollywood Monster’s sustainability journey doesn’t stop here. The company has now embarked on a mission to bring in alternative options for its entire product offering and is going through rigorous testing processes to ensure that they meet its high standards before offering them to customers. So far this has been achieved for 80% of its product range, with the company aiming to achieve this for 100% of its range by 2025.

This journey is not only about materials and Hollywood Monster has taken a number of other steps to put sustainability at the heart of its business. In addition to investing in EFI printing technology that enables more environmentally friendly printing practices, the company is now a licensed Clean Air applicator and early in 2023 it launched a recycling scheme with FESPA-accredited circular economy specialist Reconomy. This scheme sees Hollywood Monster’s materials being given a new lease of life by being turned into other products instead of ending up in landfill.

Small changes can reap big benefits, something that is perfectly illustrated by Hollywood Monster’s sustainability journey with Kavalan. By implementing more sustainable practices throughout its business the company has shown itself to be an environmentally responsible pioneer in the wide format print industry. With its sustainable choices and commitment to best practise, Hollywood Monster is doing everything it can to ensure its impact on the planet is a positive one.

Nova Abbott, Head of Marketing for Kavalan, comments: “Kavalan aims to make it possible for the wide format print industry to eliminate environmentally toxic PVC banners. It is so exciting to see an industry leader such as Hollywood Monster putting sustainability at the heart of its business. If this is what can be achieved by one business in only three years, imagine if the whole industry made the switch!”

Related posts

Latest stories