Green Printing: Perception vs. Reality and the UV Edge
Clients who subscribe to the service generally improve their rejuvenation success rates with each order. Once accustomed to the program, many typically enjoy a 90 percent rejuvenation success rate, with the remaining unusable blankets being recycled. On a periodic basis (and at least annually for the lowest blanket volume users), EIS provides a report documenting the accumulative cost savings realized as well as the amount of rubber and fabric prevented from going into the landfill. EIS invoices the printer for only those blankets that have passed stringent quality control measures. As such, the interests of EIS and the printer are significantly aligned.
EIS can also provide a document illustrating the recycling process that unusable blankets undergo. Printers send copies to interested corporate clients who are typically pleased to learn of all the “green” and environmentally sensitive initiatives being supported by their suppliers.
What About the Negatives?
With all of the aforementioned positives, it wouldn’t be fair to omit discussing some of the negatives. But before doing so, it is appropriate to address a common question: What is sustainability? In 1987, the Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” In printing, and in most other industries, this can be achieved by striving to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, heavy metals and harmful chemicals and compounds, or to work toward alternative solutions, to prevent the physical degradation and destruction of nature.
Many printers are discarding tons of spent UV and conventional printing blankets into local landfills. Immediate attention and corrective action is needed to stop this unsustainable practice. Waste prevention and recycling efforts can help us better manage the solid waste that we generate. While the EIS program certainly reduces waste, this supplier continued the research to find partners that could recycle spent blankets or possibly use them as an alternative energy source.