Printech Archive, March, 2000
Re: Towels for UV inks

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Date: Thu Mar 16 2000 - 08:04:10 CST

It is not clear from you question if you are asking for information about
towels from a production perspective or a regulatory one. From a production
perspective, some printers have found that the only type of towel they can
use are disposable ones. They are concerned with product quality and the
certain disposable towels provide this assurance.

However, the vast majority of lithographic printers use reusable towels as
their primary cleaning choice. This may be due to the economics associated
with reusables Vs disposables. When one considers the cost of disposal,
reusables tend to be more economical. You may be using disposables because
there is no service for reusables available in your area.

>From an environmental perspective, disposable towels cannot be simply thrown
in the trash as solid waste. If the solvent you are using is classified as
hazardous, the towels need to be treated as hazardous waste, the weight
counted against your generator status, managed and disposed as hazardous
including manifests. There is one possibility to avoid this and it is only if
you are using solvents classified as characteristic hazardous wastes (e.g.,
flashpoint below 140oF, passes TCLP) and you test the towels to show they
don't exhibit a characteristic, then they can be disposed as nonhazardous.
Using listed solvents does not allow this opportunity.

Reusable towels have far less requirements. In most states, as long as they
are not saturated with solvent, are stored in closed containers, and there is
a written contract in place, they do not have to be classified and handled as
a hazardous waste.

Also, EPA is working on a national rule for this that will be discussed next
week at the National Environmental Health and Safety Conference in Cincinnati
On March 20 and 21st. A registration form is available on line at I hope to see you there.

Gary Jones
Graphic Arts Technical Foundation
200 Deer Run Road
Sewickley, PA 15143
412/741-6860 x608 - Phone
412/741-2311 - Fax

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