Printech Archive, November, 1999: Hazardous Waste Generated in Litho Printing

Hazardous Waste Generated in Litho Printing

Deb Jacobson (
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 08:22:30 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 08:22:30 -0600
From: Deb Jacobson <>
Subject: Hazardous Waste Generated in Litho Printing

This inquiry was posted from the PNEAC web site, I thought some of our users
might find this inquiry and response helpful.

Debra Jacobson

> Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 06:52:10 -0600
> From: Deb Jacobson
> Subject: Hazardous Waste Generated in Litho Printing
> See below for reply to your questions.
> At 06:18 PM 11/13/99 -0500, wrote:
> >This Ask PNEAC question is from:
> >Milwaukee School of Engineering
> >
> >---------------------------------------------
> >Printech:
> >
> >I'm doing a project about hazardous waste generated by lithography
> One of my recommendation is to use soy-based ink instead of oil-based ink.
> However, from articles that I read, it seems that the solvent used to clean
> blankets are still the same type of solvent (which has high VOC content). I
> was wondering if I changed the type of ink, it is possible to change the
> of cleaning solvent (to a lesser VOC content).
> Unless the lithographic ink (soy or petro based) contains high levels of
> heavy metals regulated by EPA under RCRA the waste is typically not
> considered hazardous. Each state's hazardous waste regulations are
> different, but generally lithographic ink waste itself is considered
> "special" waste. The fact that it contains or does not contain soy oil has
> no impact.
> As far as using alternative solvents, again the type of ink has no
impact. A
> litho printer using soy or petroleum based inks can use alternative, lower
> VOC blanket washes. The key thing for performance reasons is that products
> containing a high VOC, but a low vapor pressure (less than 10 mm Hg) will
> perform much better and still emit less VOC due to the lower evaporation
> rate.
> It may help you to read up on lithographic inks. Essentially all soy based
> inks still contain a significant amount of petroleum products as well.
> is no such thing as 100% soy ink due to the fluidity of the soy oil.
> I'm also interested in the cost for using this type of soy-based ink and the
> suggested solvent (if there's any). Could you also advice me with other
> suggestion on how to minimize the waste generated?
> When soy based inks were first introduced they were slightly higher priced.
> Now that the market has matured they are about the same price as traditional
> petroleum based inks. Alternative, lower VOC emitting cleaning products do
> cost more (as much as 2-3 times more) however a cost savings can be realized
> because the printer is using considerably less cleaning product.
> For other waste minimization ideas see the PNEAC fact sheets on shop towels
> and the John Roberts Co. case study on eliminating type wash solvent.
> understand that compared to other printing methods (flexo, gravure, screen)
> lithographic printing does not generate a lot of Hazardous Waste as a rule.
> For instance, the waste ink is primarily non-hazardous special waste as long
> as hazardous wastes are not mixed in.
> >Thank you.
> >
> I hope this helps clarify your questions and thank you for visiting the
> web site.
> Regards,
> Debra Jacobson

Debra Jacobson (formerly Kramer)
E-mail Address (Revised 9/99)
IL Waste Management & Research Center / IL Dept of Natural Resources
1010 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 12
Oakbrook, IL 60523
630/472-5023 Fax



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