Fact or Fiction: Green Printing According to Mercer Color
What has Mercer Color gained? First of all, lots of experience in how the litho process really works as a total manufacturing process and how each variable can be controlled without machine add-ons such as solvent distillers, fountain solution recycling systems, on-press coating units, extra chill and hot air bars, and expensive RO water systems.
In addition, we’ve learned there are alternatives to hazardous pressroom chemistry and, despite many critics’ claims, these products really do work and in some cases they work better. Since making the switch to eco-responsible products in 1990, our ink consumption has decreased by 25%. We have only dumped the fountain solution in our circulating system three times since January 2003. We have gone from using three 55 gal. drums of wash per year to a single 30 gal. drum. We do not aqueous coat, almost all jobs can be worked and turned in 15 minutes or less and over 20% of our work is printed, folded, cut and shipped the same day (with a standard screen ruling of 300 lpi).
Mercer Color is now at less than 40 grams/liter of VOCs on our wash and our fountain solution is 2/10ths of a pound per U.S. gallon in the concentrate. Our shop is virtually odor free and our inks are at 4% or less VOCs. With ink being 95% exempt on VOCs it is possible to be at 25 lbs. or less VOCs for every $1,000,000 in sales. At the present, the maximum VOCs allowed is 3 tons or 6,000 lbs. per year. It will take us about 40 years to reach 1 ton and 120 years to reach 3 tons.
To us, being green is an ordinary everyday manufacturing procedure refined through years of research, development and observation—and, of course, the ability to change and adapt. Together, we could make an even greater impact on the environment and insure the survival of our industry.