Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Deinking Digital Prints & Paper Recycling

Printing Digitally has many advantages such as reducing overprint (did you know AGC can print as few as 100 pieces and as many as 100,000+?), accuracy (if you maintain an accurate database), storage costs (did you know if you print a project with AGC we will store it for you at no cost?), and others.

Some digital printing processes also have clear disadvantages compared to conventional offset and gravure printing: They lack good deinkability in the paper mill. Even small amounts can have a big effect in the mixture that a paper mill processes every day.

Deinking is the key process in paper recycling. Hydrophobic (water-repellent) ink particles are separated from hydrophilic (water-wettable) fibers. This process has been developed for offset and gravure inks which are roughly more than 95% in the current recovered paper mixture.

Different printing processes can not be sorted apart manually or automatically which creates problems when they cannot be removed in the process and accumulate in the system. The accumulated ink particles attach to the paper fibers and stain the sheets (similar to a red sock getting mixed in with your whites) or worse yet, leave large dirt specs within the sheet. This leads to enormous amounts of energy and significant fiber losses.

If your organization supports the 3R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle you may want to reconsider a digitally run project. Contact AGC for more information.