Recycling News & Research: On-site Waste Ink Recycling

On-site Waste Ink Recycling


Recycling printer ink has good potential as a way to reduce waste and promote long-term cost savings. The evaluation summarized here addresses the product quality, waste reduction, and economic issues involved in recycling printing ink in a facility such as The Hartford Courant newspaper In Hartford, CT.


The specific unit evaluated is based on the technology of distillation and filtration. Selected performance tests on the waste, recycled, and virgin Inks determined product quality. The recycling unit achieved a good product quality of recycled printer ink, and the recycled printer ink fared well in such laboratory tests as viscosity, grind, residue, tack, tinting strength, water content, and water pickup.


Qualified professionals, in comparisons with newspapers printed with virgin ink, favorably reviewed newspapers printed with recycled printer ink. Printer ink and solvent that would have gone to waste were recovered and reused. The resulting cost saving gave a payback period of about 10 years.


This Project Summary was developed by EPA’s Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH, to announce key findings of the research project that Is fully documented In a separate report of the same title


This study, performed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Waste Reduction and Innovative Technology Evaluation (WRITE) Program, was an effort among EPA’s Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory, Connecticut Hazardous Waste Management Service, and The Hartford Courant. The goal of the WRITE Program is to evaluate, in a typical workplace environment, examples of prototype or innovative commercial technologies that have potential for reducing wastes and to provide this information to potential users. The objectives of the waste printer ink recycling study were to evaluate.


(a) The quality of the recycled printer ink,

(b) The waste reduction potential of the technology, and

(c) The economic feasibility of the technology. The recycling process is shown in.


The major components of the recycling unit were purchased on a skid from Separations Technologies Inc.’ other equipment was added as required. Trays containing waste printer ink consisting of 75% black printer ink and 25% colored printer ink from the press room are emptied on a 1/4-in. Wire mesh to remove nuts, bolts, and other gross contaminants. The waste printer ink then goes to a large waste printer ink storage tank. When enough printer ink is available in this tank, the batch is processed. Processing primarily involves vacuum distillation, filtration, and blending.



This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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