Printing plates are made from the purest of pure aluminium. One of the material’s most beneficial properties for a circular economy is that it is infinitely recyclable, with only a minimum loss of properties. This makes it an enabler for a circular economy, especially in the graphics industry.
Miraclon, home of Kodak Flexcel Solutions, has introduced PureFlexo Printing, a next generation technology for flexographic printing. PureFlexo expands the operating scope for flexo. Print providers and their customers now have much more flexibility in choosing printing methods. PureFlexo printing is designed for printing wide web solvent inks on films and provides unprecedented control over ink spread and dot gain. This means fewer press stops, say for cleaning plates where ink has built up, and a more stable, predictable and consistent process. For brand owners PureFlexo ensures that flexo printing is more reliable and delivers stable quality.
There are many lessons being learned as the pandemic starts to loosen its grip in developed economies. One of the most important when it comes to sustainability in the graphics industry, is the need for more partnerships. Partnerships in this business come in many shapes and sizes. Agfa has a model of selling just the coatings to its plate customers, with Agfa handling the aluminium recycling for them. The World Land Trust works with paper makers to “carbon balance” the carbon impact of their products.
That line from Randy Newman’s song probably resonates for most graphics businesses, as well as their supply chains. Money is vital to keep businesses going, but it is also coming to the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change. We have long argued that environmental impact mitigation and sustainability will only move up the agenda if there is a financial interest in such moves, so the UN’s Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance is good news. For the majority of firms in the graphics business this will basically be a very big yawn. But as consolidation continues apace in the printing and publishing industries, especially as the pandemic bites deeper, large companies looking for large investments, would should take heed.
We’ve known for a while that PVC is a seriously uncool material to print on, but there is still an awful lot of it about. Despite the environmental nastiness of PVC, which cannot be recycled, it works extremely well in many print applications mainly because it is cheap. Banners particularly are often printed on PVC for indoor and outdoor use. They are strong, durable, lightweight and weather resistant, so they are still widely used and plenty of printers are available to produce them. But not for long.