Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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Printing-Lithography: Operations
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
P2 Opportunities
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Printing Process Descriptions - Overview
Printing process flow diagrams for flexography, lithography, gravure, letterpress, plateless, postpr...

Process Inputs and Outputs

PREPRESS - Imaging Process (Overview)

  Inputs   Outputs
Film Exposed, waste, and out-of-date film
  Paper   Scrap Paper
Markers and Sprays Air vapors and odors
  Developer   Spent Developer
Fixer Spent fixer and the silver from the film
  Wash Water   Used rinse water
Shop Towels and other wipers Rags containing solvents, waste
Waste paper from disposable towels
  Cleaning Solutions   Waste solvents, air vapors and odors
Chemical Storage Containers and Empty Containers

PREPRESS - Platemaking Process (Overview)

  Inputs   Outputs
Metal, paper, plastic or silver bearing press plates  Damaged or unusable plates, waste metals, paper and plastic. Waste silver halides from silver master plates
  Water   Contaminated process wash water
Developer Spent developer may contain alcohol

PRODUCTION - Printing Process (Overview)

  Inputs   Outputs
Fountain Solutions

Tainted and unused solutions, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air emissions

  Ink   Waste ink, hazardous waste, air emissions

Waste water used in cleaning, fountain solutions or solvents

  Paper   Unacceptable prints and waste paper
Plates  Outdated or exhausted press plates, silver and waste metal
  Solvents   Waste and dirty solvents, air emissions
Shop Towels Rags containing inks, solvent and metals
Waste paper from disposable towels

FINISHING - Post Press Operations (Overview)

  Inputs   Outputs
Paper Reject prints and edges from trimming
  Adhesives/Glue   Overspill and emissions
Shipping Boxes Used boxes, shipping materials
  Shop Towels   Rags containing oil, grease, solvents, and metals
Water Waste wash water containing adhesives, solvents
  Solvents   Vapor emissions, used and waste solvents and parts washers

Pollution Prevention (P2) options are by definition only available through changes to the material inputs or process portions of the operation. The best management option for wastes (outputs) which cannot be completely eliminated is to reduce then recycle, followed by treatment and disposal, in decreasing order of preference.

Note that only changes made at the Input and Process level make improvements to core operations, thereby providing an investment into the operations, changes designed for improved output efficiency.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Printing-Lithography Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 7/28/2009

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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