RadTech’s Technical Committee report, “UV/EB Technology: A Way to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” says that since ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, American companies have been under increasing pressure to reduce polluting emissions.
Printing firms have not been spared.
Old paper coating techniques such as varnishes and laminates are chock-full of pollutants. Printers need a new, environmentally friendly paper coating option. Green UV coating technology can form the centerpiece of a print firm’s strategy to become more environmentally friendly by gearing itself for sustainable printing.
Steve Waxman, writing in “Printing & Design Tips,” says that petroleum-based varnish coatings create emissions that, in turn, damage the atmosphere. Laminate coatings, on the other hand, contain what amount to plastics. Most plastics have a petroleum base. Hence, laminates hurt the environment in the same way as varnish coatings.
Waxman says that while older forms of UV coating had environmental problems (especially carcinogen content and a lack of biodegradability), new UV technology no longer has these problems. As a result, UV coatings are a much safer and environmentally friendly alternative for print finishing shops.
In contrast to non-UV based coatings, new UV coating technology has become a type of green printing. There are several reasons for this.
First, unlike other types of coatings, this new UV coating technology does not give off pollutants into the atmosphere. Second, the coating chemicals are less flammable than solvent-based materials. Finally, and most importantly, they require a lot less energy to cure than other types of coatings.
This energy savings is crucial because, as Mike Kelly writes in “The Economics of Sustainable UV Coating Technology,” green technology must be economically viable in order for firms to use sustainable practices enough to really benefit the environment.
In other words, because UV coating techniques take less energy to produce than other types of coatings, it helps the environment by using UV coatings. Plus it costs a printer a lot less than traditional solvent-based solutions.
The energy efficiency of UV coating technology means that, if printers use environmentally-unfriendly coating techniques, they hurt their bottom line by doing so. But by switching over to UV coating machines, printers can not only help the environment, they can improve their bottom line as well.