GE07: Consumables and Substrates — Sustainability: Here to Stay
BUZZ WORDS come and go, especially at Graph Expo, where they’re here one year and gone the next. “Sustainability” is not a buzz word. It’s a commitment—and it’s here to stay.
While printers and vendors alike were talking all things “green” at the show, much of the excitement was coming from paper and ink manufacturers, who have been at the head of the eco movement, having spent the past several years investing heavily in R&D on new lines of environmentally friendly products. Now, many of these suppliers have become pioneers and leaders in the ever-growing sustainability campaign.
The following is a sampling of some of the green innovations, offerings and sound bytes from Graph Expo consumables and substrate exhibitors.
Mohawk Fine Papers made two important environmental announcements. The company was named to the EPA list of Top 25 Green Power Purchasers in the United States—the only company in the graphic arts industry named to this Top 25 list. Mohawk was also named to the EPA’s list of 100 Percent Green Power Purchasers, when it became the first U.S. paper mill to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable windpower. Additionally, it is the first U.S. premium paper mill to shift toward carbon neutral production.
Mohawk has many environmental paper offerings, including Beckett Concept and Expression; Strathmore Writing and Script; and Mohawk Options, Via and Color Copy—all of which were featured at the show. The company’s current carbon neutral portfolio includes the entire Strathmore Writing and Script paper lines, and Beckett Concept and Expression paper lines. Mohawk’s digital paper line is also a sustainable choice—Green-e certified. Additionally, many of Mohawk’s recycled products are certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards.
“We’ve seen a 180-degree change since Graph Expo last year, when there was little interest in FSC-certified paper. This year, there is big interest,” reported Laura Shore, senior vice president, communications, Mohawk Fine Papers. “In December 2006, there were 100 FSC-certified printers. By June 2007, there were 208. This trend is downstreaming. Even small printers are getting onboard.”
Graph Expo exhibitor Boise Paper recently announced that its mills in International Falls, MN, and Jackson, AL, have earned FSC Chain-of-Custody certification. Both mills have been Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified for many years. At the show, Boise introduced its new HDP Digital Printing paper line—made with the Xerox iGen3 press in mind—which includes Presentation Laser, Expanded Presentation Laser, Laser with Highlight Color, Color Copy and Glossy Color Laser.
Fox River Paper featured its EverGreen 100PC paper line, which is made from 100 percent post-consumer content. The new EverGreen line includes a 95 Bright White color, and brings a new level of brightness and whiteness to the recycled paper market. Nearly 70 percent of Fox River’s paper offering contains 30 to 100 percent post-consumer content.
Stora Enso North America received some good news on the sustainability front just before exhibiting at Graph Expo. On September 7, the company was selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes STOXX, which assess the economic, environmental and social aspects of some of the world’s largest companies.
At the massive xpedx booth, attendees got the scoop on the company’s new program to help printers obtain Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and FSC Chain-of-Custody certifications. xpedx reports that more than 150 commercial printers have signed up for the xpedx “Starter Kit” to begin the process of obtaining dual certification, which involves being audited and meeting various SFI and FSC chain-of-custody requirements.
In addition, xpedx announced its new, high-brightness digital printing paper, Vector Performance DI. The new paper line, which contains 15 percent post-consumer waste fiber, is designed for high performance and quality, and has been RIT certified for digital toner and ink applications.
GPA Specialty Substrates debuted its new product, Ultra Green Eco-Friendly Paper, which is 100 percent tree-free, chlorine-free and acid-free. The product is manufactured without the use of trees, water or toxic agents such as bleaching chemicals.
Proving that they, too, are racing full speed ahead of the sustainability curve, some of the world’s largest ink manufacturers were at Graph Expo to introduce myriad products that are eco-friendly.
“We began manufacturing reduced VOC products years ago,” said Greg Lawson, group president, Sun Chemical. “We introduced (Kohl & Madden) Liberty ink in 2006 and won an InterTech Award. Liberty, with near-zero VOCs, offers superb press stability and ultra-fast drying. This year, we have a full line of eco-friendly products.”
Sun’s newest offering, the SynergyP2 ink line, is one of those products. The system combines UV ink, coating, press conditioner, wash and fountain solution chemistries formulated to simplify UV printing by speeding makeready, simplifying ink and water balance settings, and reducing startup waste. Sun’s other new environmentally friendly offering is its Rycoline portfolio of green products—pressroom supplies and specialty chemicals designed to reduce VOCs.
End User, Eco Driver
There are many reasons why more environmentally friendly inks are being developed, but the No. 1 driver is the end user—the printer, reports John Copeland, president and COO of Toyo Ink, noted that printers are asking for green formulas because they don’t want to pollute and they must adhere to regulations restricting VOCs.
To that end, the newest of Toyo’s formulations, showcased at Graph Expo, is HyPlus 100, a solvent-free, quick drying, non-misting ink that comes in many vibrant colors.
“Many of the press manufacturers at Graph Expo are running Toyo’s HyPlus ink,” Copeland added. “That’s a testimonial to the quality of our inks. HyPlus is our fastest growing product.”
Other low VOC offerings were featured in Toyo’s booth including Toyo’s sheetfed vegetable oil-based inks—HyPlus EC, HyUnity, HyPlus 100 and HyLite—and its soy-based SoyaNews series inks for web printing.
Toyo Ink, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, teamed with Akiyama, Fujifilm and Kinyo Virginia to produce an environmental booklet, promoted at the show, titled “Regeneration, Sustainability, Stewardship. Now it’s Personal.” The publication covers topics like how to become green and highlights the environmental efforts and products of each of the publication’s four sponsors.
Hostmann-Steinberg’s booth was designed to bring focus to its “inkredible” products, especially its six new offerings: Rapida (fast drying), Surprize (extreme density), Reflecta (high gloss), Resista (rub resistant), Perfexion (extreme density, high gloss) and Impression (extreme density, rub resistant)—of which, the latter four are “eco-friendly inks, free from any kind of mineral oils,” explained Ernest Meyer, sheetfed manager at Hostmann-Steinberg.
Van Son Holland Ink promoted its two newest product lines, Quickson Pro process ink and SonaCure UV curable ink. SonaCure UV is Van Son’s eco-friendly offering and includes SonaCure Paper, SonaCure Foil/Plastic and SonaCure Hybrid.
INX International Ink promoted its new eco-friendly Fusion UV Hybrid process line—which prints, handles and washes up like conventional (oil-based) sheetfed inks—but is formulated to qualify for the Soy Ink Seal. INX also hosted Raster Printers in its booth, showcasing Raster’s new Daytona T600UV Flatbed Printer.
The Flint Group spotlighted its newest “renewable source” ink offerings: Novavit F 918 Supreme BIO, which is low in VOCs due to its linseed oil base, and the energy-curable Arrowstar and Gemini Hybrid lines.
“Right now, sustainability is an ecological issue,” said Rodney Balmer, Flint’s director of global research/product development, sheetfed inks. “But, at some point, carbon emissions will probably be taxed, so sustainability will jump to being a major business issue.
“Wall Street investors are looking for companies that are focusing on sustainability,” Balmer concluded. “Initally, people thought sustainability would be a flash in the pan, but it’s here to stay.” PI