Printers today are faced with a dynamic marketplace and tough economic times. In response, some printers are cutting costs by adopting environmental improvement programs to reduce wastes and improve operational efficiency. These environmental improvement programs also help meet customer demands as more and more customers are choosing to do business with printers that have taken steps to reduce their impacts on the environment.
Use the following resources to learn strategies to help you:
- Convert to solvents and blanket washes that contain no Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) such as toluene or 111-trichloroethane.
- Recycle waste and scrap film or use a direct to plate technology to reduce the amount of silver associated with films.
- Replace isopropyl alcohol with alcohol substitutes in fountain solutions.
- P2Rx: Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange
The Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx), funded in part through grants from the EPA, provides “topic hubs” specific to flexographic and lithography printers to help reduce the toxicity or volume of waste generated.
- PNEAC: Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center
A checklist developed by the Printers National Environmental Assistance Center that describes practical steps that printers can take to reduce wastes and emissions for all print processes, such as lithography, flexography, screen printing, digital, and gravure.
- SGP: Sustainable Green Printing Partnership
Printers that meet the certification criteria, such as demonstrating commitment to sustainability, and following mandatory best practices for product, process, and infrastructure, can become a certified SGP Printer under the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership. The list of best management practices includes activities that can be undertaken at any given printing facility.
Case Study: Lorraine Press
Lorraine Press, located in Salt Lake City, is reaching its goal of minimizing its impact on the environment by not only making its operation more efficient, but also by using raw materials that are less damaging to the environment and by adopting a comprehensive recycling program.”At Lorraine Press we have a ‘Print Responsibly’ program that looks at all phases of print production to lighten our environmental footprint,” says Kent Brinker, Lorraine Press’ Environmental Manager. “We try to live by Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.”
Lorraine Press has been in existence since 1947. The printer employs 30 individuals and prints a wide range of products from corporate brochures to point-of-purchase materials.
The printing process generates paper, aluminum plates, ink, film scraps, and solvent, as well as office paper and cardboard waste. Lorraine Press has adopted the following source reduction strategies to reduce their impacts on the environment and reduce disposal costs:
- Worked with aqueous coating suppliers to convert to reusable drums.
- Switched to reusable “air fill” pillows instead of styrofoam as a packaging material.
- Established a recycling program with a local recycling vendor to recycle paper, cardboard, shrink wrap, hard plastic, aluminum plates, and film scraps.
- Scrap pallets are sent back to the manufacturer for reuse, when possible.
Lorraine Press has taken the following steps to further reduce its impacts on the environment:
- Switched to raw materials that are less damaging to the environment, such as converting to a solvent that contains 12% less Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and no Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP).
- Totally eliminated isopropyl alcohol use from the dampening systems of all presses.
- Uses a 20% vegetable-based ink on all sheet-fed presses.
- Changed to a new lithographic offset sheet fed press with an auto wash blanket and roller system.
Lorraine Press has made a commitment to seek recognition as a Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership printer. To become certified, Lorraine Press is working toward meeting the Partnership’s criteria relating to sustainable business practices across the product, process, and infrastructure areas of the printing operation.