Monday, August 13, 2012

Greener options for the printing industry

Greener practices are possible within the printing industry
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
The printing industry has had a reputation for being one of the most environmentally unfriendly industrial sectors, but at least one company in Chicago has found a way around that.

Since 1973, Consolidated Printing Company has used alternatives for chemically-laden inks and fountain solutions, as well as solvents used in parts washers.

Rather than using the once common petroleum or chlorinated solvents to degrease parts, this printing company uses recycled cooking grease from restaurants. Inks are made from 100% vegetable products and fountain solutions are VOC free.

The company went one step further by renovating the premises with non-toxic, eco-friendly materials. Conservation has always been an important part of its mandate and it does that by keeping its water waste free of hazardous materials as well as reducing energy consumption by 30 percent.

For decades now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given suggestions on how to reduce pollution.

The EPA's first piece of advice? Start by preventing pollution.  

Reusing by-products, substituting toxic chemicals with safer ones and reducing the release of pollutants in the air are just a few ways to minimize environmental impacts. In 2010, the EPA also hosted a webinar on how the printing industry can lower its carbon imprint through the use of green power.

Unfortunately, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are still a problem within the printing industry as many manufacturers still struggle with finding alternative products that can do the same job. Though Consolidated Printing Company went so far as to make its own inks and solvents using household products, many companies continue to use products that can be harmful; not only to the environment, but also to their employees. 

Would you do business with a company that uses vegetable-based inks? Tell us what you think!

Source: NBC Chicago

Protecting employees’ health at the workplace

Because many chemical and paper products are used in printing, employees are exposed to unhealthy doses of chemical fumes as well as a lot of particle matter during the cutting process.  

Electrocorp has several solutions for small and medium-sized printing companies that use digital and/or offset printers. These shops can benefit from our I-6500 with source captures. This unit connects to HVAC systems, while source captures hanging from the ceilings are positioned above the printers.

The PrintSafe is another good option as it is mobile and the intake hood can be placed right at the source of the fumes, thereby protecting workers from the worst of the chemicals.

During the cutting process, many fine paper particles enter the air. The Dirty Dog is ideal for dust-filled environments. It uses a bag filter that can reduce particle levels by up to 90 percent.

For more information on our units, contact one of our IAQ experts or visit our printing and graphics section on the Electrocorp website.

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