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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
INDUSTRY INDICATORS All art courtesy FSEA. New study Confirms Recyclability of Foil Enhanced Printed Paper By Jeff Peterson W ith the increased attention toward environmental sustainability and responsibility, the Foil and Specialty Effects Association (formerly Foil Stamping and Embossing Association) felt it was paramount to take a proactive stance in the movement and begin a "Green Initiative" for its members and the industry at large. Statements began to circulate by certain environmental advocates within the packaging and printing industries that foil was not an environmentally friendly process that it creates problems specifically with the recycling of paper and paperboard. In response, the FSEA set into action. With this information, the FSEA felt the first step in its new green initiative must be to combat misnomers and unfounded accusations circulating throughout the graphic design and brand owner communities. Through the help of an association task force and the support of its members, the FSEA has procured and released a new study that confirms the recyclability and repulpa- bility of foil-decorated paper and board. It was important to the FSEA that the findings come from a reliable, third-party source. As such, it commissioned Pira International, Surrey, UK, to con- duct the study and produce the findings, which have been com- piled in a 14 -page report. To conduct the study, foil-stamped paper and carton board was utilized from both the more traditional hot foil stamping process and also the cold foil process. The evaluation included foil-decorated product that represented a 2s-percent decorated post-consumer waste level up to loo-percent decorated post- consumer waste level, far exceeding the projected levels. The test- ing methods utilized in the study aimed at replicating industrial conditions for deinking and for standard recycling. Both methods involve repulping the material to be evaluated along with clean paper pulp, then evaluating the results and establishing suitability for use in sellable paper products. The conclusions of the Pira researchers confirmed the process success and a broad spectrum - of paper products that the recycled pulp could be a contributor. ttIt has become quite apparent that this study is extremely im- portant to the long-term health of our industry and association," stated Guy Dupree of Superior Graphic Finishing, FSEA chairman. "We are very excited with the positive findings of the study and are making every effort to communicate these findings to the graphic arts and packaging industries as quickly as possible." The study describes the pulping and screening methods used in the research, and provides a complete analysis of the report- ing results from the testing methods. The main conclusion from the study validates the recyclability of paper products decorated by both the traditional hot stamp and new cold foil processes. In addition, the study finds that neither hot nor cold foil-decorated products would give rise to problems found in competitive deco- rating processes that may render the decorated paper products unsuitable for recycling. "The study is an update to information that participants in the industry have known for decades. Graphic designers and brand owners will recognize the quality of the technical information available regarding print enhancements using decorative foil- ing methods. They (brand owners) can achieve the results with impact at the shelf and continue to meet sustain ability require- ments," stated David Hutchison, Brightmarks LLC, FSEA green ini- tiative committee. In addition to the current study on recyclability and repulpability of foil-decorated paperJboard, FSEA is continuing to build a library of re- search and data focused on "green initiatives" and is working to create additional tools that will address MARCH 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009