University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
http://www.mntap.umn.edu
612.624.1300

Reducing Solvent & Scrap Waste at Printing Facilities

Solvent Issues and OpportunitiesEmployee at Printer

Solvents and their emissions can be a concern in printing facilities. Solvents are costly to purchase and use. Traditional solvents like trichloroethylene and methylene chloride are heavily regulated, which also makes them costly. Additionally, using a variety of solvents can expose your workers to toxic emissions. Finally, if you are considered a large user of traditional solvents, over 10,000 pounds a year, you are required to report under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)/Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) regulations and pollution prevention planning under the Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act (TPPA). For those reasons, solvent use should be limited and eliminated if possible.

If you are unable to eliminate solvent use, you may consider recovery and recycling as an option. MnTAP’s fact sheet, Selecting a Still for On-site Solvent Recycling, can help you determine how to best handle solvent recycling on-site. Recycling solvent can often extend the life of a solvent reducing purchase and disposal costs. Using alternative solvents is also an option.

Anagram International in Eden Prairie hosted a MnTAP intern who evaluated the options for adopting a multiple stage cleaning system as well as other cost saving process improvements. A MnTAP Source article addresses more information about multiple stage cleaning for facilities including printers. Additionally, MnTAP offers information about bio-based cleaning solvents.

Scrap Reduction Opportunities

Printing facilities can create a significant amount of scrap waste ranging from ink to paper to film. MnTAP placed an intern in a printing facility, Hood Flexible Packaging, to address film scrap waste and the company successfully saved $50,000 after implementing recommendations. Additionally, technologies such as freeze-dried packets of photo processing chemicals may help your facility reduce waste.

More pollution prevention ideas for printing are available on the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange Web site. This site contains information for both flexography and lithography facilities.

Like our content and want to share it with others? Please see our reprint policy.