Colour Innovations is able to assure its customers that our prepress and printing process is as environmentally friendly as is technologically possible at this time and that we are doing our small part to help keep Canada green and healthy.
Colour Innovations is committed to maintaining and improving its EcoLogo and Forest Stewardship Council certifications and regulatory compliance. We retain the services of a professional environmental health & safety consultant to ensure that we not only comply with current and new regulations, but continually improve our practices and knowledge. This includes regular staff training, updating treatment systems, waste diversion programs, regular effluent testing, and pollution prevention initiatives. Equally important is ensuring a healthy working environment for all our employees.
Colour Innovations was the first printer in Ontario to become EcoLogo-certified in 1997. We recognized the importance of offering this symbol of environmental excellence as well as the FSC certification program so that our clients could demonstrate and promote their environmental commitment to their clients. Our EcoLogo certification covers our entire lithographic printing process, not just the paper we print on. We were originally certified by the federal government under the ECP-58-94 standard, now recently updated to CCD-041, and audited by TerraChoice. The EcoLogo program compares products/services with others in the same category, develops rigorous and scientifically relevant criteria, and awards the EcoLogo to those who meet or exceed the standard through a thorough evaluation and auditing process. Environment Canada’s EcoLogo program provides consumers with assurance that products bearing the EcoLogo symbol meet stringent environmental criteria. The EcoLogo program was developed to help move the entire marketplace toward sustainability.
Pollution Prevention Initiatives
In December 2006 we completed a three-month, comprehensive multi-media Pollution Prevention (P2) Assessment. We commissioned a professional environmental consultant recommended by the Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) to work with us and have implemented a number of his recommendations. Our participation in the Toronto Region Sustainability Program (TORUS) was voluntary and by so doing, we became a client of OCETA which oversees the pollution prevention study and assists with implementing the recommendations on an ongoing basis. This study covered the P2 requirements of all levels of government, best practices for hazardous waste management, and reduction of our environmental foot print to sustainable levels.
The three main P2 action items we focused on from the study were: 1) Reduction of VOC emissions; 2) Elimination of subject pollutants from our liquid effluent; and 3) Maximization of the number of trees saved by improving our paper recycling program and strongly promoting FSC certified paper usage.
1) Reducing VOC Emissions
Note on VOCs: Many solvents and inks used in the printing industry emit a volatile organic compound (VOC) as atmospheric vapour. Emissions can be direct through stacks and vents, or fugitive. VOCs are photo-reactive and when they combine with nitrous oxide emissions and particulate from cars, trucks and industry and are synthesized by ultra violet rays in sunlight, they produce low-level ozone. That is why “smog”, as a dirty yellow pollutant, is most noticeable in summer. It is a serious health concern.
All our presses are isopropyl alcohol (IPA)-free and run on an environmentally friendly substitute. IPA is a 100% VOC substance. We installed a reverse osmosis system to improve and stabilize water quality and enable IPA-free printing. This also reduces ink and paper waste levels.
Our major reduction in VOCs comes from solvent recycling. We installed and tested a series of solvent distillation units to capture and recycle our waste water miscible auto blanket wash on-site. Working with our consultant and the equipment manufacturer, Uni-Ram, an Ontario-based company, we have designed a totally automated closed-loop system. The waste solvent and water is captured in drums, the distillation process draws off the solvent from the water and returns it to the feed tote. The water is then distilled for safe disposal or reuse. Make–up virgin solvent is periodically purchased to cover process loss and to recharge the surfactants in the blanket wash. We are able to recapture and re-use at least 75% of our blanket wash, with both the cost savings and environmental benefits. Previously we were paying $9,300 per year to have the hazardous waste solvent/water hauled off-site for safe disposal. We are therefore also eliminating the associated hazardous truck emissions from the atmosphere.
RESULTS: These initiatives have eliminated an estimated 24 tonnes of reportable VOC emissions from our inventory.
2) Eliminate Subject Pollutants From Process Effluent
During the P2 assessment we conducted a 24-hour composite sampling and lab analysis of our sewer discharges. Then we produced a P2 plan to target the small amounts of identified pollutants and submitted this to the City of Toronto under Municipal Code Chapter 681. We now monitor our effluent on an annual basis. Moving to a complete CTP (computer-to-plate) operation has eliminated all film and the attendant chemicals from our prepress process waste stream. All pressroom liquid waste, including fountain solutions, is either collected for safe disposal or treated on-site. The CTP developer is corrosive with high pH levels, so we installed a pH neutralizer to bring the level into line with the sewer bylaw. We are moving beyond compliance and have been testing developer recirculation units which continuously clean the developer and reduce replenishment rates by 50%.
3) Saving Trees & Protecting Forests
We now understand the impact each individual company initiative can have on the environment. None is more evident for our printing industry than the relationship between our paper purchasing decisions, minimization of paper waste, and maximization of recycling programs. Paper does grow on trees: 900 million of them every year become pulp and paper. Paper manufactured with recycled fibre uses 60% less energy and 7000 gallons less water per ton. We have established an operating procedure for capturing waste paper and cardboard which is collected and picked up by our recycling service. We promote FSC certified papers from well managed forests and ensure that post-consumer recycled content paper is used whenever possible. It takes 24 trees to manufacture 2200lbs (one metric tonne) of paper and 90 cubic feet of landfill space to dispose of this paper; it takes 5500 gallons of water to make 1 tonne of paper and 6600 kW-hours of energy.
SAVINGS FROM PAPER RECYCLING OPERATIONS AT COLOUR INNOVATIONS
Colour Innovations is certified as an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper supplier. This chain-of-custody program ensures that the FSC certified paper we offer our clients is made with wood fibre from responsibly managed and sustainably harvested forests.
VIRTUALLY CHEMICAL-FREE DIGITAL PRINTING
In 2007 we installed an HP Indigo digital press with a full in-house bindery system. The results were remarkable and our latest generation HP Indigo 7800 has increased our digital print work beyond our expectations with far less pollutants or hazardous waste.
Through all these measures and a consistent, long-term awareness of the role we must all play in preserving our environment, Colour Innovations is able to assure its customers that our prepress and printing process is as environmentally friendly as is technologically possible at this time and that we are doing our small part to help keep Canada green and healthy.