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During my many plant evaluations and general discussions with different management teams the topic of pollution prevention, environmental issues and sustainability is always being brought up. As printers you can have a direct and immediate impact in all of these areas, and the key to how successful you can be is really dependent on how much education you provide to every person involved in your production process.

Whether you are ISO approved or otherwise you need to document what you start with and in particular what this creates in the form of waste, be it hazardous or waste that just creates a further risk. Sustainability is all about reducing what you use or better still what can be reused. On press this could mean installing chambered ink systems, higher line count anilox, better roll cleaning, using bio degradable non VOC no HAP cleaning solutions, printing with 4 color process, re-blending of used ink, and keeping containers and open fountains covered.

Recycling of cleaning solutions or the use of cleaning techniques such as ultrasonics both reduce the amount of solution that has to be disposed of and help maintain the efficiencies of your product and equipment. Reducing set up times and materials are obvious areas that can have a radical impact on your efficiencies and waste stream so do look at these areas closely. Segregating waste and the use of reusable containers or recyclable materials are easy and very effective methods for all companies wanting to see immediate benefits and savings. Making these changes and looking for ways of finding more, means commitment from owners and management at every level, so clear communication, encouragement, recognition and training are all vital elements to achieving a more environmentally friendly and sustainable program.