Fact or Fiction: Green Printing According to Mercer Color
Editor’s note: The following perspective was submitted as a Comment in response to the “Going Green Drives Sales” article that was published in the March, 2007 edition of Printing Impressions. The material was too long to be displayed as an Online Comment, so it is being posted in its entirety here.
By Pat Berger, vice president and co-owner
In recent years, there’s been quite a bit of hype about green printing and with that hype comes many questions. What exactly is green printing? Could it be done at my printing facility? Does planting trees, using wind and alternative power sources, recycled paper and product labels with butterflies qualify us as a green printer? Doesn’t FSC and ISO certification mean we’re a green printing facility?
While most of these are good environmental practices that contribute to an overall encompassing green program, they do not have any effect on the actual printing process. Here at Mercer Color, we define green printing as a manufacturing process using products and procedures that greatly reduce or eliminate HAPS (Hazardous Air Pollutants), 313s (Federal SARA List of community right to know substances), VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) [as defined by test method 24], and California proposition 65 chemicals (chemicals known to produce reproductive harm or carcinogens). Additionally, we require MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) to list the above and all individual State data.
Mercer Color has chosen to pursue a manufacturing process utilizing chemicals complying with the above with few of the superficals and some of our own in-house policies. This process consists of four-product groups: ink, fountain solution, wash-up cleaning agents, and paper/paper-board.
We started our green endeavor in 1990 with the use of seed oil or vegetable oil based Hi Solids inks. This is a continuous improvement process and today we are pleased to report it has reached its full potential allowing us to print 300 lpi and higher or stochastic without any more effort than running 110 lpi.