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FLEXO Magazine : Flexo Sustainable Spring 2008
Alcan Continues Green Research Alcan Composites USA is continuing its research into a variety of market-led "green initiatives" in the graphic display industry to promote continuous improvement in the company's develop- ment and manufacturing of sustainable graphic display products. These green initiatives fall into two major areas: 1. Manufacturing products utilized in the graphic display in- dustry-including rolls, panels and inks-that are biodegradable in landfills and/or utilized in industrial compost. 2. Manufacturing products with recycled content that can then be recycled themselves. Alcan Composites' current findings in these areas have been published in the third of a series of environmental state- ments available on-line at http://www.alcancompositesusa.com/ Sustainability3.pdf. "Our research into current landfill technologies has confirmed our initial findings that biodegradable graphic display products are not sustainable solutions because landfills are constructed in tomblike styles that do not allow for these products to biode- grade with certainty," said W. Jay Wynne, vice president, sales and marketing, Alcan Composites USA Inc. "And, while industrial composting sites may afford a reuse opportunity for biodegrad- able graphic display boards in the production of lawn and garden compost products, we currently are sorting through confusing information about the incorporation of inorganic biodegradable materials-such as plastics-in these compost products. Current indications suggest that inorganic biodegradable materials are not viable components for compost. We will continue to re- search this area and share our findings with the graphic display industry." Alcan Composites USA will not pursue the development of bio- degradable graphic display boards if they are not able to decom- pose in landfills or industrial compost areas, according to Wynne. "We would be remiss in developing and marketing biodegradable products that are not sustainable throughout their lifecycle," he said. Lifecycles are defined as cradle-to-grave for products that decompose or cradle-to-cradle for products that can be recycled into another use. Alcan Composites' current sustainability initia- tives are focused on conservation in a three-pronged approach- reduce, reuse and recycle. "These methods involve the entire product supply chain, in- cluding the manufacturer, distributor, graphic designer, fabricator and end-user," said Wynne. Alcan Composites offers the follow- ing conservation methods that can be adopted throughout the graphic display supply chain: Reduce. Graphic designers are encouraged to design around web widths when printing graphic displays in an effort to reduce scrap material. Additionally, designing in relation to graphic display board sheet size and the final display piece can greatly reduce the amount of scrap that ends up in landfills. Ordering sheet sizes that can be transported efficiently by truck can reduce the carbon footprint of these products, especially when these sheets are transported multiple times-from manu- facturer to distributor or fabricator, fabricator to fabricator, and fabricator to end-user. Product transportation often is overlooked but can playa significant role in reducing fossil fuel usage. - Sustainable FLEXO SPRING 2008 Long haul trucks can transport sheets of 96 inches in width. As an example, when S-by-IO-foot graphic display boards are trans- ported, three feet of dead space results and wasted fuel down the supply chain. A more efficient use of the trucking space would be 4-by-IO-foot sheets that can be transported two across. "We encourage the incorporation of conservation transporta- tion techniques in initial graphic design decisions, fabricator or- ders and distributor orders," said Wynne. Reuse. Alcan Composites USA endorses the reuse of its graphic display boards. While Fome-Cor paper-faced foam boards would not generally be acceptable for reuse, heavy-duty Gatorfoam, Sintra, Dibond and Alucobond panels may be reused. Graphic designers and fabricators can plan for reuse in ongoing cus- tomer projects or subsequent non-display applications, such as packaging. Recycle. All of Alcan Composites' graphic display boards contain recycled content. Currently, the company utilizes post- production recycling methods, including the incorporation of created waste from the manufacturing process as well as the purchase of recycled material on the open market. Post-consumer recycling methods are more difficult to incorporate because the company's products are not purchased in high enough volumes to be efficiently transported back to Alcan Composites' manufac- turing facilities for recycling. "The creation of local business that can incorporate plastic products in their manufacturing process, such as milk cartons combined with wood fibers to create deck planking, is of great interest to Alcan Composites," according to Wynne. Wynne said the company is researching and would assist lo- cal businesses that might provide this recycling opportunity. Alcan Composites also supports the efforts of The International Association of Plastic Distributors in this area. Alcan Composites' current sustainability research is focused on determining the carbon footprint of its graphic display products and their real impact upon the environment. These results will be shared with the graphic display industry in the company's on- going series of sustainability statements and research updates. NAPIM & EMA .loin SGP Partnership The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP Partnership) welcomes two new partners in the effort to further the sustain- ability movement within the graphic communications industry- the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) and the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA). The SGP Partnership recognizes that the interest in sustain- ability spans all aspects of the printing industry, and it aims to be the focal point for both printers and their customer base regard- ing sustainable business practices for a printing facility. With the addition of these two associations, the partnership expands its breadth and takes great strides toward reaching this goal. Ink systems are critical to the future of the printing industry, and the demand by print customers requesting "green" inks makes the participation of NAP 1M in the SGP Partnership essen- tial to its success. NAPIM is the only trade association represent- ing the United States manufacturers of letterpress, gravure, litho- www.flexomag.com
Flexo Sustainable Winter 2008
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal