While printing packages for the consumer products industry printers generate hazardous printer ink waste in quantities that qualify the industry as one of the nation’s largest sources of hazardous waste. In fact, solvent components in printer ink waste are among 17 chemicals targeted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for minimization.
The proposed process technology recycles printer ink waste on-site versus disposal. By merging state-of-the-art spectrophotometry, new software and innovative filtration methods, ink waste destined for incineration becomes reusable printer ink.
This prototype process originated from a successful study funded in part by an EPA grant. The process begins with a procedural change from waste management to resource management and requires disciplined printer ink waste collection and segregation into chemical type and primary color. Segregated materials are analyzed using advanced spectrophotometric instrumentation, identified by a unique software, and remanufactured using proprietary technology. The process results in a closed loop of ink and solvent resources recycled into press-ready ink.
Success of the project will result in a demonstration of the commercial feasibility of recycling for nearly 1,000 package printers and 300+ product printers. Further success will lead to other segments in the printing industry comprising over 52,000 plants.
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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