Pollution Prevention Tips for Flexographic Printers (PDF)

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					   Pollution Prevention:
   Tips for Flexographic Printers


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_________                           Pollution prevention provides

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 These Pollution Prevention Tips
                                    flexographic printers many opportunities
                                    to make environmental improvements
                                                                                  Pollution prevention is an entirely
                                                                                  different approach than pollution

_________
 were identified by the


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 Flexography Partnership of the
                                    and create cleaner, more sustainable
                                    operations. Also known as source
                                                                                  reduction, which uses control
                                                                                  technologies such as oxidizers,

_________
 Design for the Environment


_________
 (DfE) Program at the U.S.
                                    reduction, pollution prevention reduces
                                    or eliminates environmental discharges at
                                                                                  adsorption systems, and permanent
                                                                                  total enclosures to reduce emissions

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 Environmental Protection


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 Agency (EPA). The Partnership
                                    their source – that is, by avoiding their
                                    creation. Pollution prevention requires
                                                                                  from flexographic printing opera­
                                                                                  tions. Control options do not

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 performed a detailed study


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 comparing hazards and risks,
                                    taking active steps to implement changes
                                    in workplace practices, technology, and
                                                                                  prevent pollution from being gener­
                                                                                  ated in the first place. Control


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 safety concerns, and cost and


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 performance aspects of the three
                                    materials – including switching to cleaner
                                    inks and safer chemicals. Possible
                                                                                  technology can also break down,
                                                                                  and require expensive capital and


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 main flexographic ink systems:


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 solvent-based, water-based, and
                                    benefits from pollution prevention
                                    include cost savings, improved productiv­
                                                                                  maintenance costs.



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 ultraviolet (UV)-cured. The        ity, better product quality, reduced health   The pollution prevention pyramid


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 complete results of the study,     risk concerns to employees, reduced           shows source reduction at the top.


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 Flexographic Ink Options: A        pressures of regulatory compliance, and       This means that reducing or eliminat­


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 Cleaner Technologies Substitutes   of course reduced environmental im­           ing sources of pollution should be


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 Assessment (CTSA), can be          pacts.                                        the first and most comprehensive


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 downloaded from the DfE                                                          approach to preventing pollution.


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 website (www.epa.gov/dfe).         A strategy to prevent pollution should be     One highly effective pollution


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                                    customized to fit each printer’s objectives   prevention strategy is simply replac­


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                                    and production process. The first step is     ing use of a hazardous chemical with


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 DFE’s Flexo Partners               to construct a process flow diagram           one that shows less risk or hazard. If


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 • California Film Extruders        that identifies each stage of the produc­     a chemical showing hazards or risk


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   and Converters Association       tion process. Once the inputs and             concerns cannot be eliminated, then


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                                    outputs are identified, waste streams can     it should be recycled. If it cannot be
 • Film and Bag Federation

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                                    be prioritized based on hazard or risk,       recycled as is, it should be treated,


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 • Flexible Packaging Associa­      and the source of those waste streams         and only if none of these options


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   tion                             can be targeted.                              exist should it be disposed.


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 • Flexographic Technical

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   Association
                                    Each step in the printing process offers
                                    opportunities for pollution prevention.

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 • National Association of

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                                    The list that follows includes some
                                    obvious and not so obvious suggestions
                                                                                        Source Reduction
                                                                                               Recycling

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   Printing Ink Manufacturers
                                    for reducing environmental effects of

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                                                                                              Treatment
 • Printers                         printing operations. You can probably

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 • RadTech International

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                                    implement other good ideas that are
                                    specific to your facility’s operations.
                                                                                               Disposal



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 • Suppliers


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 • University of Tennessee

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 • Western Michigan University




                                                    EPA 744-F-02-011
                                                    August 2002
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_________                                         Pre-press
                                                                                       Use Computerized Ink Blending:
                                                                                       Software and specialized equipment help


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_________                               Use Computers for Proofs and Plates:
                                                                                       printers blend ink, reduce surplus ink, and
                                                                                       reuse press return ink.


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                                        Eliminating all proofs and plates enables
                                        printers to skip photographic development      Print with Four-Color Process: The


_________                               and eliminate the use of darkroom              limited number of inks in four-color


_________                               chemicals.                                     process printing can minimize the amount


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                                                                                       of mixed colored inks used and eliminate
                                        Switch from Rubber to Photopolymer

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                                                                                       residues of unusual colors at the end of
                                        Plates: Use of traditional nitric acid baths

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                                                                                       each job. With chambered doctor blade
                                        to etch designs into metal plates may

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                                                                                       systems, the increased use of process
                                        generate wastewater that is low in pH and

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                                                                                       printing to produce a broad spectrum of
                                        high in metal content, requiring regulation

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                                                                                       colors has become more easily attainable.
                                        under the Clean Water Act. Photopolymer

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_________
                                        plates eliminate this waste stream as well
                                        as the metal engravings and wastes
                                                                                       Co-Extrude Colored Film: Films can be
                                                                                       co-extruded to have panels of color in a

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                                        generated from the production of conven­
                                        tional molded rubber plates.
                                                                                       clear field, which eliminates the need for
                                                                                       heavy coverage with colored ink.

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  Pollution prevention opportu­


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  nities exist throughout the                                                          Run Light Colors First: By running lighter


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  Flexographic printing process                                                        jobs before darker jobs, printers can
                                                  Printing and

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                                                                                       reduce the number of clean-ups.
                                                  clean-up
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  Pre-Press                             Install Enclosed Doctor Blade Chambers:
                                                                                       Standardize Repeat Print Jobs: Make-
                                                                                       ready times and waste materials can be

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_________       Printing
                                        Enclosed doctor blade chambers reduce
                                        ink evaporation, which results in better
                                                                                       greatly reduced if the press operators
                                                                                       know the anilox roll linecount and cell

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_________
                                        control of ink usage, more consistent
                                        color, and improved performance of the
                                                                                       volume, the sequence of colors applied,
                                                                                       ink parameters such as pH and viscosity,

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_________                  Post-Press
                                        inks on press. Making this change to an
                                        older press may greatly reduce ink
                                                                                       and other set-up information.


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                                        evaporation, thus minimizing worker
                                        exposure to hazardous chemicals.
                                                                                       Standardize Anilox Roll Inventory: This
                                                                                       saves time during makeready and reduces


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_________                               Cover Volatile Materials: By keeping all
                                                                                       waste.



_________                               cans, drums, and open ink fountains            Use Multi-Stage Cleaning: Solvent use


_________                               covered, printers can reduce odors and         can be reduced by using a multi-stage


_________                               worker health risk concerns by minimizing      cleaning procedure for the printing decks.


_________                               uncaptured volatile organic compound           This procedure reduces solvent use by


_________                               (VOC) emissions.                               reusing solvents that are otherwise


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                                                                                       discarded. Pre-used solvent is used in the


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                                        Use Higher Linecount Anilox Rolls: This        first stage to remove the majority of the


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                                        enables printers to apply smaller ink          ink. In the second stage, a cleaner but


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                                        droplets closer together, to achieve much      still pre-used solvent removes more ink.


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                                        finer ink distribution, easier drying, and     In the third stage, clean solvent removes


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                                        potentially faster press speeds.               any remaining ink.


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                                        Rework Press Return Ink: Reworking
                                        press return ink can increase efficiency,
                                                                                       Install Automatic On-Press Cleaning:
                                                                                       When paired with solvent recovery, on-

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                                        reduce ink purchases, and reduce hazard­
                                        ous waste if contamination issues can be
                                                                                       press cleaning systems use much less
                                                                                       cleaning solution than hand cleaning,

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                                        addressed. Ink can be reworked by
                                        blending press return ink with virgin ink
                                                                                       while also having a very short cycle time.



_________                               or other press return inks.



   2
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Clean Anilox Rolls Promptly: Prompt                       Making change

                                                                                             _________
attention will prevent the inks from setting,
                                                          happen                              Integrated Environmental Manage­


                                                                                             _________
thereby reducing the need for harsh chem­
                                                                                              ment Systems Implementation Guide


                                                                                             _________
icals. Clean rolls also produce more
                                                 Pollution prevention requires commitment     (EPA 744-R-00-011)


                                                                                             _________
predictable ink densities, potentially reduc­
                                                 from both management and employees.

                                                                                             _________
ing on-press waste and improving quality.                                                     290 pages, 48 worksheets;
                                                 While management action is required for

                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              October 2000
Use Alternative Methods to Clean                 process changes, employees — who are
Anilox Rolls: Printers can choose among
many alternatives for cleaning anilox rolls
                                                 closest to the process — often are best
                                                 placed to identify pollution prevention
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              This guide has been pilot-tested by


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              several small businesses that used it
to reduce or eliminate the need for
traditional cleaning solvents. These
                                                 alternatives.
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              to build an Integrated Environmen­


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              tal Management System (IEMS) for
alternatives use sonic cleaning, dry ice,
lasers, polyethylene beads, and sodium
                                                 Make a Management Commitment:
                                                 Management should establish, communi­
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              their companies. An IEMS inte­


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              grates worker safety and health
bicarbonate.
                                                 cate, and demonstrate its commitment to
                                                 the concept of pollution prevention, to
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              concerns along with environmental


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              concerns into a company’s products,
Recirculate Warm Press Air: Both solvent-and
water-based printers can significantly
                                                 encourage company-wide source reduc­
                                                 tion in everyday practice. Management
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              processes and activities. An IEMS


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              also includes the principles and
reduce their energy requirements by
recirculating warm air from dryers.
                                                 can assemble pollution prevention teams
                                                 of employees, incorporate pollution
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              technical methods of the DfE


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              Program, which emphasizes


                                                                                             _________
                                                 prevention into job responsibilities, and    reducing risk to humans and the


                                                                                             _________
                                                 provide incentives for employees to          environment, along with preventing
           Throughout the
                                                                                             _________
                                                 prevent pollution.                           pollution and managing resources
           printing process                      Train Employees: Pollution prevention
                                                 training for company personnel may          _________
                                                                                              wisely. The guide provides clear,


                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              step-by-step guidance on imple­


                                                                                             _________
Use Safer Chemicals: Switching to inks,                                                       menting an IEMS in a small
                                                 facilitate process changes by educating

                                                                                             _________
cleaning agents, and adhesives that                                                           company.
                                                 workers on the need for such change.
contain a lower percentage of VOCs and
fewer hazardous air pollutants may reduce
                                                 Training also helps to encourage general
                                                 source reduction and stimulate pollution    _________
                                                                                             _________
risk concerns to worker health and the
environment.
                                                 prevention ideas by personnel.
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                             _________
Segregate Hazardous Waste: Segregat­
ing hazardous wastes allows disposal of
                                                 Monitor Employee Practices: Periodic
                                                 monitoring helps ensure that source
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              Integrated Environmental


                                                                                             _________
                                                 reduction practices are followed.            Management Systems Company
pure instead of mixed wastes. Because

                                                                                             _________
                                                                                              Manual Template for Small
pure wastes are much easier to treat, they

                                                                                             _________
                                                 Seek Out and Encourage Employee              Business (EPA 744-R-00-012)
are not only less expensive to dispose of,

                                                                                             _________
                                                 Initiatives: Supporting, encouraging, and    60 pages; December 2000
but also require less energy.

                                                                                             _________
                                                 actively acknowledging pollution preven­
                                                                                              This document was developed

                                                                                             _________
                                                 tion initiatives by company personnel can
Return Containers: Using returnable con­                                                      to help companies document

                                                                                             _________
                                                 stimulate innovative ideas for source
tainers prevents unnecessary waste gene-                                                      their IEMS. Written as if it

                                                                                             _________
                                                 reduction. This may be especially benefi­
ration and results in additional cost savings.                                                were the actual manual of a

                                                                                             _________
                                                 cial because employees who are closest
                                                                                              specific small business, the

                                                                                             _________
Track Inventory: Tracking chemical pur­          to the process are often in the best
                                                                                              template helps companies

                                                                                             _________
chases and disposal can help to maintain         position to recommend change.
                                                                                              understand how to adapt the

                                                                                             _________
a minimum inventory on the shelf, thus
                                                 Develop an Environmental Manage­             procedures to implement and

                                                                                             _________
reducing the amount of materials wasted.
                                                 ment System (EMS): An EMS is a set of        document an IEMS. It

                                                                                             _________
For example, hazardous waste can be
                                                 management tools and principles de-          contains procedures that are

                                                                                             _________
minimized by labeling inks with the date
                                                 signed to guide a company to integrate       normally documented as part

                                                                                             _________
and having a “first-in, first-out” rule, i.e.,
                                                 environmental concerns into its daily        of an ISO 14001-compliant

                                                                                             _________
rotating the inks so that the oldest inks
                                                 business practices. See www.epa.gov/         EMS.

                                                                                             _________
are used first. This avoids disposing of
                                                 ems for more information.

                                                                                             _________
expired ink as hazardous waste. Tracking


                                                                                             _________
systems using bar codes takes inventory
control to an even higher level.



                                                                                                                           3
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 EPA’s Design for the Environ­            Pollution Prevention Checklist
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 ment (DfE) Program is located

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 within the Economics, Exposure and       Does your facility . . .
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 Technology Division of EPA’s Office


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 of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.             Pre-press
_________
 DfE projects help businesses design


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 products, processes, and manage­                Use Computers for Proofs and Plates
                                                                                                 YES
                                                                                                 �
                                                                                                       NO
                                                                                                       �

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 ment systems that are cost-effective,


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 cleaner, and safer for workers and the          Use Photopolymer Plates                         �     �


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_________
 public. DfE’s goals are to:


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 • Encourage businesses to incorpo­              Printing and clean-up
_________
   rate environmental information

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   into their decision criteria, and             Install Enclosed Doctor Blade Chambers          �     �

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_________
 • Facilitate continuous environ­                Cover Volatile Materials                        �     �

_________
   mental improvement.


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 To accomplish these goals, DfE and
                                                 Use Higher Linecount Anilox Rolls               �     �


_________
 its partners use several approaches,

_________
 including cleaner technology and
                                                 Rework Press Return Ink                         �     �


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 life-cycle assessments, environmental

_________
 management systems, formulation
                                                 Use Computerized Ink Blending                   �     �



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                                                 Print with Four-Color Process                   �     �
 improvements, best practices and

_________
 green supply-chain initiatives. In

_________
 addition to flexography, DfE has
                                                 Co-Extrude Colored Film                         �     �


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 forged partnerships with a variety of

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 industries, such as other types of
                                                 Run Light Colors First                          �     �



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 printing, the automotive industry,              Standardize Repeat Print Jobs                   �     �


_________
 industrial laundries, and electronics.

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                                                 Standardize Anilox Roll Inventory               �     �


_________
_________
 For more information about the
                                                 Use Multi-Stage Cleaning                        �     �



_________
 DfE program, call 202-564-8780 or               Install Automatic On-Press Cleaning             �     �


_________
 send e-mail to dfe@epa.gov


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                                                 Clean Anilox Rolls Promptly                     �     �


_________
_________
 For additional copies of this or

_________
 any DfE document:
                                                 Use Alternative Methods to Clean Anilox Rolls
                                                 Recirculate Warm Press Air
                                                                                                 �
                                                                                                 �
                                                                                                       �
                                                                                                       �

_________
_________
 • Download them from the DfE


_________
   website at www.epa.gov/dfe                    Throughout the printing process

_________
 • Contact the Pollution Prevention


_________
   Information Clearinghouse at                  Use Safer Chemicals                             �     �


_________
   202-566-0799 or ppic@epa.gov


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 • Contact the National Service
                                                 Segregate Hazardous Waste                       �     �


_________
   Center for Environmental

_________
   Publications at
                                                 Return Containers                               �     �



_________
                                                 Track Inventory                                 �     �
   www.epa.gov/ncepihom

_________
   telephone: 1-800-490-9198

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_________                                         Design for the Environment Program (7406)
                                                  August 2002
                                                  EPA 744-F-02-011