Printech Archive
Re: VOC Reductions in Printing Industry

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Date: Thu Feb 17 2000 - 16:44:46 CST

Answering your question about total VOC reductions by the printing industry
is not going to be easy. There are no central records that I am aware of that
track this type of information. The printing industry is classified as having
both point and nonpoint or area sources. The difference between the two types
of sources is a matter of definition by state. According to the Clean Air
Act, each state is required to collect emission information from its "point
sources" through an annual report called an emission statement. Emission
statements can be called by different names, but typically those printers
with a permit and those emitting more than a certain amount of VOC per year
(usually 10-25 tons) are required to file an annual emission statement.

Since the vast majority of printers are not large sources of VOC emissions,
they do not exceed permit thresholds and do not get caught up into the
emission inventory. These printers are classified as area sources and EPA has
devised an area source emission factor for each industry that is used to
characterize the emissions from these businesses. This emission factor is
usually expressed as a per capita factor.

The one fact that I can state is that the printing industry as a whole, has
reduced its emissions over the past 10 years. There have been many chemical
substitutions and process changes that have been very positive from an
environmental perspective. However, I can't tell you the magnitude of those
reductions. I am not aware that EPA collects point source information on an
annual basis by industry segment. I have never seen any reports detailing
this information, but it would be beneficial to ask them. Otherwise you would
have to survey each state's emission inventory branch.

On the area source aspect, the news is a bit more encouraging. Several years
back, GATF was involved with a study conducted by the University of Texas on
determining a more accurate approach for area source inventory for printing
operations. According to the research, the current emissions from graphic
arts is estimated to be 0.13 lbs VOC/person/year as compared to the very old
AP42 factor of 0.8 lbs/person/year and the EIIP factor of 1.3
lbs/person/year. This represents a decrease of about 83.8%-90%. I would say
that this would be somewhat representative of printing since the EPA's
factors are dated and most printers are classified as area sources.

If you have any more questions, let me know.

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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