paper selection

If a client needs a printed product, we encourage them to use print vendors that operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Choosing to print on FSC Certified papers is one part of the selection process. If you've ever visited a printing facility, you know that printing manufacturing is laden with a host of nasty chemicals and a lot of paper and petrochemical waste that can be high in volatile organic compound (VOC) content. Printers can tread lightly in their environment by selecting the right inks, using waterless printing techniques and employing a host of other low-impact solutions including the use of chemicals with lower VOC content to clean the plates, press blankets, rollers and other press parts.

In the 1960's, the advent of cost effective petroleum-based inks began to overtake the use of vegetable oil made inks. Petroleum-based inks contain hazardous materials. These range from heavy metals used in coloring, to petroleum-based solvents (used to clean the press parts and accelerate the drying process). When released into the environment, heavy metals such as barium, copper, and zinc can contaminate soil and groundwater. In addition, inks that contain petroleum solvents emit a higher concentrate of VOC into the air. VOCs can be irritants for print shop workers when present in the form of vapors. They also contribute to the formation of smog.

By contrast, agri-based inks are predominately made from non-toxic soy, or vegetable oils unlike some petrochemicals. Typically soy-based ink contains 7 percent to 40 percent of the total oil in the manufactured ink, which is also a renewable resource. Using soy and other vegetable oils reduces VOC emissions and creates a healthier work environment for print shop employees. Most new soy/vegetable-based inks can perform as well as their petroleum based counterparts.

Another great way to reduce hazardous chemical usage is to specify digital printing, which does not employ many of the harsh, volatile chemicals found in traditional offset printing. Digital printing has many other advantages including lower overruns and the potential for Variable Data Printing (VDP). If digital printing is not an option, using a printer that has a Direct-To-Plate (DTP) system, can lower the use of chemicals during the prepress process.

Fill-out our contact form for a free estimate specifying the use of responsibly printed paper products.

In-Depth: What is Waterless Printing?

(From the Waterless Printing Association Website) Waterless printing is an offset lithographic printing process that eliminates the water or dampening system used in conventional printing. It uses silicone rubber coated printing plates and specially formulated inks, and typically a temperature-control system is integrated into waterless presses.

In contrast to conventional printing, which is a chemical process that relies on isopropyl alcohol or substitutes, waterless printing is a mechanical process. The waterless press operator is not challenged with balancing the delicate relationship between ink and water. Waterless printing requires only an appropriate temperature range for transferring ink to substrate.

The waterless process offers several advantages vs. conventional printing, including better print quality measured in terms of color consistency, color saturation, detail reproduction and overall sharpness.

Waterless also improves productivity by reducing makeready time and simplifying press operation. The environmental benefits of waterless printing have captured the attention of printers and print buyers alike. The process eliminates fountain solution, which eliminates the consumption of water and significantly reduces the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere vs. conventional printing.

A mid-size conventional printer with two 40” and one 28” press would use 10,200 – 13,800 liters of alcohol in a year operating three shifts, or 2,700 – 3,650 gallons. It should be noted that dampening alcohol substitutes are widely used in the United States.

According to Japanese authorities, 60% of VOCs in offset printing come from washing solvent, with ink and fountain solution contributing 40%. A reduction in washing solvent VOCs is critical for small to mid-size printers to make meaningful VOC reductions. Waterless printing makes that possible.

Research conducted at Tokyo-based Bunseikaku measured VOC emissions from the printing company’s waterless printing operation and also from its conventional wet offset operation. The results showed that the waterless pressroom created 75% less VOC emissions than the conventional pressroom.

Waterless operations using water washable ink systems are pushing the low-VOC scenario even further, with the potential to reduce VOC emissions up to 95% vs. conventional printing.

Reducing or eliminating VOCs benefits not only the planet, but also the people working in the pressroom. These chemicals demonstrate an array of health effects, ranging from eye irritation to leukemia. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene, as an example, causes cancer in humans.

The critical need for water conservation, which is gradually gaining awareness even in developed countries, is a highly attractive environmental benefit of waterless printing. In a BBC report, the United Nations warned that more than 2.7 billion people will face severe water shortages by 2025 if the world continues to consume water at the current rate.

Printing has historically been a leading industrial consumer of water. According to data supplied by JL Lennard, a single five-six-color, 40 inch (102 cm) conventional printing press operating only one shift can use 3,175 gallons (12,019 liters) of water per year. An eight-unit 38” (96.5 cm) heatset web press will generate around 23,810 gallons (90,131 liters) per year. Some conventional web presses require more than 25,000 gallons monthly, which is enough water to overflow a swimming pool measuring 18 x 36 feet.

Waterless printing addresses the dilemma. Mosaic, a waterless printer in Cheverly, Maryland, has calculated that printing 10,000 copies of a simple direct-mail flyer using waterless printing and recycled paper would save enough water to support a human being for a year.

The final environmental advantage of waterless printing is reduced paper waste. Because waterless presses come up to color and register so much faster than conventional equipment, paper savings of 30% to 40% have been reported. Consequently, the burden on the waste stream is lessened—and fewer trees need to fall.

The combination of natural resource conservation, reduced air and water pollution, high print quality, productivity gains, and employee wellness position waterless printing as a robust and appropriate technology for the twenty-first century.


Waterless Printers in Oregon

The only Oregon-based waterless printer is PRINTING MANAGEMENT GROUP in Beaverton ( ) .

FSC Certified Printing Companies in Oregon

ADPRINT Company Portland
Apollo Graphics Printing, LLC Portland
B&B Print Source Tigard
Bridgetown Portland
Campa Graphics Inc. Portland
CDS Publications Medford
Cenveo Graphic Arts Center Portland
Core Communications Corvallis
Direct Marketing Solutions Portland
Dynagraphics Inc. Portland
Image Graphics & Litho Inc. Portland
Industrial Publishing Inc. Eugene
Irwin Hodson Co. Portland
Journal Graphics Portland
Leading Media Print Group Forest Grove
Lithtex Printing Solutions Hillsboro
Lowell's Print-Inn, Inc. Portland
Lynx Group, Inc. Salem
Michaels Printing Portland
Mollet Printing, Inc. Portland
Paramount Graphics Inc. Beaverton
Partners on Demand Tualatin
Pep Printing dba Premier Press Portland
PhotoCraft Inc. Portland
Precision Graphics of Oregon Tualatin
Print Graphics Inc. Beaverton
Printing Today Portland
QSL Print Communications Eugene
Rose City Printing & Packaging Portland
RR Donnelley-Portland Portland
Shelton-Turnbull Printers, Inc. Eugene
Stevens Printing Inc. Portland


FSC Certified Paper Merchants in Oregon

Kelly Paper Company Portland
Paccess, LLC Portland
Pacific Paper Trading Company Clackamas
Spicers Paper Gresham
Unisource WorldWide Portland
Tigard OR
Xpedx Eugene


FSC Certified Paper Manufacturers in Oregon

The only Oregon-based Paper Manufacturer with FSC Chain-of-Custody Certification is West Linn Paper Company ( )












Vespagraphics is a full-service graphic design firm in Eugene, Oregon.