Clean air. Clean, adequate water supply. Forest conservation. Safe working conditions.
These environmental goals are universal, though the degree of concern may vary from country to country. In some parts of the world, the printing industry has been specifically cited for its contribution to the degrading environment.
Waterless printers worldwide are winning national and international environmental awards in recognition of their environmental standards, and many have received ISO 14001 certification for their Environmental Management programs.
VOC-less Printing Milestone
Many printers have been drawn to waterless printing because it eliminates dampening-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the printing process. Some VOCs have been linked to the deterioration of the earth's protective ozone layer and, consequently, to global warming. Now, with the release of water-washable inks, the waterless pressroom can be virtually VOC-free.
This revolutionary ink technology, eliminates the need for solvent-based press and blanket wash solutions, which typically account for a large portion of a printer's VOC output. The press wash solution is 93 percent water and 7 percent mild surfactant (soap), with the ultimate goal of a 100 percent water-washable product. The environmental benefits of water-washable inks are far reaching.
In 1995, 92 percent of the global population had a sufficient supply of water. If the world continues to consume water at its current rate, it is projected that water sufficiency in 2050 will be only 58 percent. It is further predicted that nations will go to war over water supplies within the next two decades.
Waterless printers have recorded dramatic conservation of our water resources. A printer in Switzerland, operating one of the world's first waterless web presses, eliminated the use of approximately 250,000 litres (about 66,000 gallons) of water in one year. That water would normally have come from a nearby lake, which is a source of drinking water for tens of thousands of people.
It takes 17 pulpwood market-sized trees to make a ton (907 kg) of paper. Barely enough to provide a daily newspaper to 20 people for a year.
Besides depleting our supply of virgin fibres for papermaking, deforestation destroys the natural habitats of countless plants and animals, one of which may have otherwise provided a cure for cancer.
Because presses running waterless come up to colour and register so much faster, and hold those consistently throughout the press run, paper savings of 30 percent to 40 percent have been reported. In addition to saving trees, that also represents a significant manufacturing and paper cost savings.