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INK AND CLEANER WASTE REDUCTION EVALUATION FOR FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINTERS
Miller, G. D., W. J. Tancig, M. J. Plewa, AND P M. Randall*. INK AND CLEANER WASTE REDUCTION EVALUATION FOR FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINTERS. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/R-93/086 (NTIS 93-191286), 1993.
This report describes the technical and economic effects incurred by a flexographic label printer who changed the type of ink and cleaning agent used in its print shop. The changes were incurred as the best way to eliminate all hazardous materials. The company's corporate management mandated the switch out of concern for its employees, and with the intention of limiting possible future waste liability. Hence the traditional alcohol-based inks and alcohol solvent cleaning agents gave way to water-based inks and an aqueous cleaner. From a technical point of view, there is general agreement in this shop that the water-based inks yield better quality labels. Labor is reduced because the water-based inks are more easily removed from the pans, rollers and plates. Ink splashes and spills are also quickly removed by sponging either with water or the aqueous cleaner. As a result of these process modifications, solvent emissions to the plant air have been reduced about 80%. The toxicity of the gaseous and liquid wastes have also been reduced by approximately 90%. Hazardous liquid wastes have been eliminated while wastewater sent to the sanitary sewer has increased. Solid wastes have remained relatively unchanged.