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Title:Ink and cleaner waste reduction evaluation for flexographic printers
Author(s):Miller, Gary D.; Plewa, Michael J.; Tancig, William J.
Contributor(s):Illinois. Department of Energy and Natural Resources. Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center (ILENR DENR ENR HWRIC); United States. Environmental Protection Agency. Waste Reduction Innovative Technology Evaluation (USEPA EPA WRITE)
Subject(s):Cleaning compounds
Waste minimization
Printing ink
Abstract:This report describes the technical and economic effects incurred by a flexographic label printer who changed the type of ink and cleaning agent used in its print shop. The changes were incurred as the best way to eliminate all hazardous materials. The company's corporate management mandated the switch out of concern for its employees, and with the intention of limiting possible future waste liability. Hence, the traditional alcohol-based inks and alcohol solvent cleaning agents gave way to water-based inks and an aqueous cleaner. From a technical point of view, there is general agreement in this shop that the water-based inks yield better quality labels. Labor is reduced largely because the water-based inks are more easily removed from the pans, rollers and plates. Ink splashes and spills are also quickly removed by sponging either with water or the aqueous cleaner. As a result of these process modifications, solvent emissions to the plant air have been reduced about 80%. The toxicity of the gaseous and liquid wastes have also been reduced by approximately 90%. Hazardous liquid wastes have been eliminated while wastewater sent to the sanitary sewer has increased. Solid wastes have remained relatively unchanged. From an economical point of view, major savings develop with water-based inks at the studied facility because the majority of the liquid wastes do not require disposal as hazardous agents. The inks are presently acceptable to this location's local public waste treatment plant, and the cleaning towels and wipers are now either rinsed within the plant or sent to a commercial laundry. Formerly they had to be labeled as hazardous and segregated for special disposal. Though untreated ink washes are acceptable to the waste treatment plant, the company has chosen to filter theirs through a special absorbent to remove all color. The used absorbent is acceptable in the local landfill. These changes, at least for this company, involved no capital expenditures. With the levels of various alcohols evaporated during printing now greatly reduced, the employees enjoy a cleaner and healthier plant environment.
Issue Date:1994
Publisher:Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center
Series/Report:TR Series (Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center) ; 012
Genre:Technical Report
Sponsor:Jointly funded by USEPA & HWRIC under Cooperative Agreement number CR-815829
Also available from NTIS as #PB93-191286
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-09-08

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