Guide to waterless printing

Printers could reap commercial and environmental benefits from converting to waterless printing technology, according to recent guidance from Envirowise, the Government-sponsored best practice programme.1

Many firms use conventional offset lithographic printers. These require the use of dampening solutions and isopropyl alcohol, leading to emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and potential regulation under the pollution prevention and control regime. The process also generates significant amounts of paper waste.

Envirowise says that many printers may be able to benefit from converting to waterless printing, removing the need for dampening chemicals and IPA. Waterless printers can also produce commercial advantages such as improved print quality and improved press productivity.

The guide includes four case studies of companies which converted to waterless printing. Park Lane Press, a small firm based in Wiltshire which produces advertising and marketing materials, installed the technology in 1999. It reduced annual consumption of IPA by about 2,000 litres, saving £1,120 per year and reducing annual emissions of VOCs by 1.6 tonnes. It also cut water use by 20%.

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