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Urgent Notice on Printing Industry



The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) proposed new regulations in respect of air emissions
for the printing sector in January 2012, in terms of an amendment to the Section 21 Notice of the
National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (AQA). The printing works draft
regulations (draft regulation) are provided under ‘Category 11’ of the draft amendment to the Section
21 Notice.

Q 1: What Does the Draft Section 21 Listing Require?
A 1: The draft regulation dated 27 February provides that all printing processes exceeding 15 tonnes
of organic solvent consumption per annum are required to apply and pay for an Atmospheric
Emissions License (AEL) in terms of the AQA. Facilities that use less than 15 tonnes per annum will
be exempt. Earlier drafts of the printing sector regulation in the Section 21 amendment regulated
facilities on the basis of 25 tonnes of solvent consumption per annum.

If your facility, based on the annual organic solvent consumption, falls within the S21 regulation, you
will be required to meet emission limits of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at all vents associated
with printing processes. Organic solvent consumption refers to:

       Any form / type of solvents purchased to be used in the printing process (including that
        purchased for cleaning purposes)
       Organic solvents present in ‘solvent based’ inks (as sold by the various ink suppliers)

The emission limits are as follows:

                                      Category 11: Printing Works
                                   Processes in which publication rotogravure, product and packaging
                                   rotogravure, wide web flexographic printing presses, rotary screen
                                   printing, heat set web offset, lamination and varnishing units or any
                                   other printing methods are operated.

                                   Installations with organic solvent consumption threshold equal to or
                                   more than 15 tons per annum

                   Substance or mixture of
                        substances                                          3
                                                       Plant      mgC/Nm under normal conditions
                                                       status       of 273 Kelvin and 101.3 kPa.
               Common name

                 Total Volatile                        New                          75
                   Organic                  N/A
                 Compounds                             Existing                     90

                                                       New                          50
                  Particulates              N/A
                                                       Existing                    100

              Oxides of nitrogen            NOX        New                         100
                                        expressed as
                                            NO2        Existing                    400
Requirements relating to ‘Particulates’ and ‘Oxides of Nitrogen’ refer to limits for a particular type of
VOC emission control equipment, thermal oxidation.

The draft regulation currently indicates that facilities operating any printing methods must meet
‘existing’ emission limits within five years from the date of promulgation (likely to be in 2013), and
facilities must meet ‘new facility’ emission limits in 10 years. Given the significant cost of VOC
emission controls, operators will have to install VOC controls that achieve both existing and new
emission limits in a single step within a five year period, rather than implement two separate systems
capable of achieving ‘existing’ and ‘new’ in order to comply with the five and 10 year compliance

Q 2: What is PRINTING SA doing about this?

A 2: Following the publication of the draft regulation in January 2012, PIFSA initiated an investigation
with the overall objectives of determining the impact of this regulation on the printing sector and to
propose amendments to the regulation where technically and economically justified.

The six month study was initiated in March 2012 and has been led by PRINTING SA and
representatives of the printing sector elected to a working group (Environmental Interest Group). The
study has been supported legally by Norton Rose and technically by WardKarlson Consulting Group.

Q 3: What are the Outcomes of the Working Group’s Assessment of the Draft Regulations?

A 3: The working group has determined that a number of changes to the draft regulation could be
beneficial to the printing sector. These include:

    •   Category 11 Description Changed to: “Printing, coating and lamination processes using
        rotogravure, flexography, rotary screen printing, heat set lithography, varnishing and printing
        systems that incorporate elements of these technologies”

            •   This means coldset and sheet-fed lithography, and digital printing would not be

    •   Emission Limit for New Facilities: The Working Group Committee accepts the proposed
        emission limit of 75mgC/m for new facilities which reflects international best practice.
        However the following amendments are proposed:
            •   75mgC/Nm VOC or 95% control efficiency of VOC in vents or a VOC containing
                Solvent Reduction Mechanism

            •   Solvent reduction mechanism may be permitted, whereby emission limits or control
                efficiency can be met through the use of non-VOC containing printing materials

            •   A single emission limit (reflecting the ‘new facility’ standard) would be adopted with a
                ten year compliance timeframe from the date of promulgation. This avoids the need to
                implement VOC controls within the initial five year period

The working group has considered the impact of alternative solvent consumption thresholds. Whilst a
low solvent threshold may regulate a large part of the printing sector, adopting VOC controls for small
operators may be more economically challenging when compared to larger facilities. Conversely, a
higher solvent consumption threshold may infer a competitive advantage in the market place for small
operators when compared to those operators forced to implement costly VOC emission controls.
The use of solvent consumption as a basis for regulating a facility is an approach adopted in the
European Union.

Q 4: What Happens When These Regulations are Promulgated and if my Facility Exceeds the
Organic Solvent Consumption Threshold?

A 4: Each facility regulated by S21 will need to prepare an ‘organic solvent consumption plan’,
detailing the total weight in tonnes of organic solvent consumed each year. If the facility exceeds the
threshold defined in the final regualtion, an application for an Air Emissions License (AEL) will need to
be made.

Part of the AEL application process will include the monitoring of exhausts to either a) demonstrate
compliance with the S21 emission limits or b) if non-compliant, propose approaches to meet the
emission limit within the prescribed period. Monitoring of vents will cost between R40,000 and
R70,000 per annum depending upon the size of facility.

The Working Group will request to the DEA a 12 month period for each regulated facility to apply for
an AEL from date of promulgation of the final regulation.

Q 5: What are my Options to Reduce VOC Emissions to Allow My Facility to Meet S21 Limits ?

A 5: There are a number of options:

       Replace printing materials with those that have a low VOC content
       Purchase pollution control equipment (thermal oxidizers, biological treatment, carbon

For most facilities included in the regulation, thermal oxidation will be the most reliable and effective
methodology. Costs for thermal oxidation range significantly from scale of application, however for a
small printing facility the capital costs may exceed R2M, and annual operating costs may exceed
R1M. For large facilities the capital may exceed R10M and operational costs exceed R2M.

Q 6: What if I Increase Printing Capacity or Replace Listed Printing Processes soon after
Promulgation of the final regulation ?

Section 21 States:

             “New Plant” shall mean any plant or process where the application for authorisation in
             terms of the National Environmental Management Act 1998 (Act No.107 of 1998), as
             amended, was made on or after the date on which this Notice takes effect.
The amendments to the S21 Notice incorporating the printing sector is likely to be promulgated in
2013, after which it is understood that installing printing processes that are listed under Category 11
will require that these new printing processes achieve ‘new facility’ emission limits for VOCs

This presents a complicated situation for operators planning to expand their existing operations or
replace old equipment soon, as the capital cost of installing VOC controls for existing printing
processes infers that many operators would prefer to install one control system for all regulated
printing processes within a five or ten year period (rather than a single VOC control system for the
newly installed printing process in the next few years).
PRINTING SA is considering further discussions with the DEA regarding this topic.

Q 7: Do You Have Comments On the Proposal Organic Solvent Consumption Threshold Limit?

PRINTING SA has agreed a two week consultation period with effect from 7th September 2012 on
the topic of the solvent consumption threshold. Should you have comments or suggestions in this
regard, you are requested to submit these urgently to or Should
you require any additional information, please contact Louise Moralee or Warren Ogle at 011 287

Please consider the following:

       Do you support a stringent solvent consumption threshold of 15 tonnes per annum, whereby
        the majority of printing facilities, including small businesses would be regulated?

       Do you support a higher (less stringent) solvent consumption threshold, whereby fewer
        facilities (larger facilities) would be regulated?

       Any other Comments?

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