Printing Plate Environmental Impact Study Released

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, Canada—J Zarwan Partners has published an in-depth research study, “Environmental Impact of Printing Plates,” which is available free of charge at In a bid to help printers make a more informed choice when purchasing plates, and to bring a degree of clarity to an often confusing issue, the report analyses four main areas where plates can have an environmental impact—chemistry, energy, water, and waste. The study compares the relative environmental impact between different categories of plates, as well as comparing the resources used by different plates within a category.

Major plate suppliers have made great strides in reducing the amount of chemistry required and waste produced when processing offset lithographic printing plates. Alongside conventionally processed plates, there are a variety of reduced chemistry and ‘chemistry free’ options as well as processless plates, all of which further reduce the environmental footprint. This study has been supported by both Fujifilm and Kodak, though it reviews plates from other leading industry manufacturers.

“While environmental considerations are only one factor in choice of a plate, it is important to be aware of the differences and the amount of chemistry and other waste involved,” comments John Zarwan, author of the report. “Even if the result is not a change in plates used, the printer can improve awareness of processes and make improvements. It is important to remember that virtually all plates work well in the correct application, and no single solution is appropriate for every printer. Plates have different characteristics on press, different run length capabilities, and are not suitable for all applications.”

Graham Leeson, marketing manager for Fujifilm Graphic Systems in the UK, comments, “Environmental performance is often a grey area in terms of hard facts, so Fujifilm is delighted to support an independent report which clarifies the relative impact of the different plate technologies, I’m sure that the report will be of huge value to printers and print buyers worldwide who are looking to make educated decisions about environmental responsibility.”

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