April 23


Techniques Used in Eco-Friendly Printing

By Hackworth

April 23, 2013

digital pritning, eco-friendly, Green Printing, offset printing, water-less printing

eco-friendly printingWith the increasing concerns about the conservation of the environment, the printing industry is steadily progressing towards adopting eco-friendly printing techniques, which is otherwise known as ‘green printing’. The fact that conventional printing colors and other additives can cause havoc to nature if disposed improperly, is well known to all. So, the shift to using green printing techniques is not a sudden one.

How to make printing more eco-friendly

Generally, a person or a company inclined to green printing should follow few basic rules to see a substantial change in the printing process. Firstly, the person should use the best available eco-friendly paper for the purpose of printing, and then reduce the use of chemical ink and the release of toxic chemicals into the environment. Also, shift to using soy or other vegetable-based inks, which do not require an excess of toxic solvents. The solvents actually cause more harm than to the environment than the paint itself. It is also very important to inform and educate others about the advantages and necessity to shift to eco-friendly printing practices, over conventional methods.

There are various techniques, which present a unique mix of conventional methods and modern practices in printing. Some of the printing techniques that are discussed below will help you produce beautiful printing results that are eco-friendly.

  • Offset Printing: This type of printing uses oil based colors, which repel water, to produce real life images that are comparable in quality and longevity to the usually used chemical paints. Texts and images will be photo-engraved on an aluminum plate, and they are rolled over by the paint rollers. This efficiently distributes the ink over the aluminum plate. Then the images obtained on the plate are transferred to a rubber sheet, which is then applied to paper, and is pressed to obtain a long-lasting image.
  • Digital Printing: This technique does not use plates to press ink onto a sheet. In digital printing the ink is not absorbed onto the surface of the paper, the ink instead spreads onto the paper to make a distinct layer. This is precisely the reason why the resultant prints obtained through digital printing are richer, and do not fade easily with time. Digital printing, when adopted in eco-friendly settings, uses completely recyclable paper and water-soluble ‘green’ paint.
  • Water-less Printing: The conventional lithographic printing process causes the maximum harm to nature. However, water-less printing method eliminates the usual lithographic printing process, which causes considerably less harm to the environment. This process essentially removes water or the dampening process from the printing method. Water-less printing uses modern non-invasive chemicals and mechanical methods to print the colors on the sheet. The mechanical method here uses a unique temperature control system, and a silicon rubber coated sheet. This combination transfers the color onto the paper.

The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are either present in the runoff water from the printing press or present in the fumes, are the main cause of environmental pollution in printing. They are not only hazardous to human beings, but also to the flora and fauna around us. It has been scientifically proven that a green printing press emits 80% or less VOC into the environment, which is reason enough to switch to a healthy and eco-friendly printing method.


About the author

In 1991, Hackworth opened its doors as a blue printer in Chesapeake, VA. Under the direction of Dorothy and Charlie Hackworth and their son Charles, the business is now a full-fledged graphics, printing and technology company serving the Mid-Atlantic.

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