There are four key environmental benefits of waterless printing:
- Water sustainability—an increasingly pressing need everywhere
- No tainted water discharge—no fountain solution, no waste water management
- Reduced solution and chemical in plate processing—minimized VOCs
- Sound ecology beyond FSC, ISO or wind power
Water will become the most coveted resource in the world within our lifetime. By the year 2025, it is estimated that 66% or two thirds of the world’s population will be living with serious water shortage. In this world, our simple message to the printing industry as well as the print-buying community is this: Waterless printing is about water conservation. There is no fountain solution, no waste water or chemicals that emit VOCs. It is an ecologically sounder solution.
60-80% of VOC Reduction
When sustainable water management initiatives by governments and agencies start kicking in, think how effective and important waterless printing will become. Waterless is an environmentally responsible process that will add to your CSR portfolio.
We all realize that printers are making the same “green” claims: being ISO- and FSC-certified, powered by sustainable energy, and offering recycling. They are all relevant and convincing claims, but the simple truth is that waterless printing surpasses and improves on all of these claims.
Complete elimination of dampening solution containing IPA and other pollutants
The silicone rubber layer on the waterless plate surface corresponds to the dampening solution in conventional printing and serves to repel the ink. Thanks to this, waterless printing dispenses completely with the use of dampening solution, which contains etching fluid, IPA, and other harmful substances. Dampening solution effluent exceeds standard values for BOD, COD, and other items as stipulated in Japanese Water Pollution Prevention Law, and there have been instances where appropriate treatment has not been carried out.
Major reduction in waste paper
As waterless printing does not require adjustment of the dampening solution, the time spent at the make-ready stage from plate setup (mounting of the printing plate on the printing press) to the press run (actual printing) is shorter than in wet printing. As a result, only a small amount of waste paper is generated in the preparation process. The table below shows actual values measured by Printing Company A using both waterless printing and wet printing. The table shows the amount of reduction in waste paper achieved by adopting waterless printing. Many printing companies use these figures as target values in the ISO 14001 certification process.
Added value in printed materials
Waterless printing allows usage of the Butterfly Logo authorized by the Waterless Printing Association (WPA). In Japan, the Butterfly Logo appears on catalogs, posters, and other printed materials distributed by large companies. Displaying the Butterfly Logo can increase the value of the printed materials.