Printech Archives, October 1997: Re: Mobile Ink Recycling

Re: Mobile Ink Recycling

Debra Kramer (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 07:46:25 -0500



I know of at least one supplier that sells offset ink "recycling"
equipment for on-site permanent installation which filters out the paper
dust and solids (ink skins) and blends the ink into black. You may want
to contact the manufacturer of this equipment - Bill Schultz at Semler
Industries in Franklin Park, IL; phone 847/671-5650. They also are
marketing a piece of equipment that processes water based flexo ink.
This is a four stage system with two cross flow filters and two membrane
separations. Shultz is in the process of setting up a demonstration of
the equipment for me to see (a bench top demo system )

They do have installations at a couple of newspapers out east. There is
one at the Wouster (sp?) Gazette in CT and the Providence Journal in RI.
It might be worthwhile to contact Bill to see if you can see the
equipment in action at an actual facility. I requested to see the
equipment installed at a plant, but there is not one close to Chicago.
If you do wind up going to these facilities please give me some feed

As far as your original question about permitting, etc. My only
experience is that the agencies don't quite know how to handle it and
that in some cases where these units are traveling into various states,
the company had to get an air and/or waste disposal permit from
individual states that determined they would required a permit (I
suppose this was a case by case review). Some states did not require a
permit at all. The issue seems to me is that this is both an air and
land permit question.

As far as quality of recycled inks, I have heard mixed reports and seen
good color quality and BAD color quality. In one case the ink turned
out sort of muddy brown when applying 100% recycled ink from this
particular recycler. On the other hand, printers who blend as much as
50% recycled ink have not complained to me about the quality.

I don't have exact quantities about how much any company is recycling,
but the ink types that I know of are w.b. flexo, w.b. packaging gravure,
and offset. I am also currently working with a company outside the U.S.
to develop a 100% recycling technology for solvent based flexo and
gravure ink wastes.

You may want to contact Tom Estock at Quad Graphics (who is also on this
listserv) for more information about what their experience is. I know
they are recycling their inks.


From: Frantz-ENV, George[]

Greetings... some good info flying on ink wastes. Here's a question
based on a project we're considering in New England:

I'm looking for feedback on ink recycling, especially the sort of mobile
unit that pulls a semi up to a printer's dock and recycles many drums of
waste ink into remilled ink and waste.

I'm especially interested in
- regulatory or permit problems encountered,
- how careful or reliable the recycler operators are,
- quality of the recycled inks,
- quantity and type of inks being recycled etc.

Once I get some information on how this process is faring in other
areas, I'll be glad to share the outline of our ideas; who knows, there may be
folks who might want to participate.



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