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Green is the new CMYK

Aug 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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Several readers responded to our call for green printers. “We have no hazardous wastes at our facility,” reports Dan Walker, quality system coordinator at Alcan Packaging (Atlanta). “We conduct clean audits of our site on a monthly basis, with posted results…everyone eagerly participates.”

Frank Miske III, vice president of sales, Custom Business Forms (CBF) (Minneapolis-St. Paul), says his company initiated its green quest several years ago. “We are, on the average, down to two dumpsters per week; this used to be as high as five or six.”

CBF has found its status as a state-certified green company has attracted some new clients. “It has given us some calls from folks looking for a company that not only prints recycled paper but also practices recycled policies,” writes Miske.

Mercer Color (Coldwater, OH) also joins our honor roll of environmentally friendly InRegister readers. “For more than 15 years, we have been practicing and perfecting ecological manufacturing,” writes Pat Berger. “We have beta tested and recommended modifications to many products.”

Berger adds that petroleum washes can be eliminated completely from the pressroom and VOCs nearly so. Mercer Color went computer-to-film in 1991 and CTP in 1997. “The only VOCs we have in pressroom chemistry are 0.2# per gallon in our fountain solution,” reports Berger. “There are two ink sets currently available that perform at stochastic resolution of 20-micron and lower. The VOC content is four percent or less.”

Berger notes Mercer still is able to print all jobs at 300 lpi or higher and has been doing so since 1995.

Chemistry-free. We also heard from several vendors. Presstek reminds us that DI printing is easier on the environment than conventional offset. No chemical processing is required, and all four plates are imaged in register on press, significantly reducing waste.

This past March (“Processor-free CTP”), managing editor Denise Kapel covered processlesss and chemistry-free plates from Agfa, Citiplate, Fuji, Kodak, Heidelberg, Presstek and Xanté. Here are some recent developments: Agfa's :Azura chemistry-free plate system is in operation in more than 300 printing and prepress sites around the world. Originally launched as an Agfa-only solution for Agfa thermal CTP systems, :Azura now is in use — in on-line and off-line configurations — on Screen's PlateRites, Creo's Trendsetters and Lotems, Luscher's Expose and Heidleberg's Topsetter and Suprasetter.

:Azura is a grained and anodized aluminum thermal plate that uses patented ThermoFuse technology to physically bond images to the plate without any chemical processing.

H&S Graphics (Lodi, NJ) replaced its first chemistry-free system with Agfa's :Acento running :Azura plates. The third-generation, midsize commercial printer likes :Azura's quality, environmental benefits and its overall performance on press.

Lee Printing Co. of Clinton Township, MI (, is the first print shop in the United States to adopt Heidelberg's Saphira Chemfree thermal plate. Heidelberg's new package combines the company's negative-working, offset aluminum plates with its thermal platesetter, the Suprasetter.

Environmentally friendly press chemistry. Amerikal Products Corp. (Waukegan, IL) has launched a new Web site featuring its Genesis pressroom chemistry:

The site features solvent-free fountain solutions, blanket and roller washes manufactured using renewable resources, data sheets, technologies such as Thin Ink Film Technology, and additional specialty pressroom chemistry products.

Hold the chlorine, please. We also heard from Archie Beaton, executive director of the Chlorine Free Products Assn. (Algonquin, IL) ( The independent, nonprofit association certifies paper mills for chlorine-free and processed chlorine-free production. “We have worked with a long list of end users who are specifying paper grades that are not bleached with chlorine chemistry,” writes Beaton.

For a selection of recent recycled paper options, see “It's easy being green,” in our article archive at

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