Sustainable Printing

What Printing and Imaging is doing to support sustainable printing practices

DES Printing and Imaging (formerly the State Printer) has long been a leader in environmentally responsible printing, with a strong tradition of recycling, pollution prevention and socially responsible purchasing. The agency is dedicated to the continued use of sustainable practices to protect the health and safety of customers, employees and the surrounding community, to ensure excellent product quality, and to provide new opportunities for economic success.

The following are just a few of the sustainable practices currently used by DES Printing and Imaging and the benefits they provide.

  • Using only vegetable-based ink instead of traditional petroleum-based ink. DES Printing and Imaging uses only ink with a non-toxic vegetable oil base, which contains a combination of soy, cottonseed, corn and other vegetable oils. The ink virtually eliminates toxic air emissions and hazardous waste, improves the work environment for our production staff, and qualifies as a renewable resource.
  • Using alcohol-free press solutions. Eliminating alcohol from the solutions used to thin the ink on the press makes these solutions non-toxic, non-flammable and phosphate free. Because the solutions evaporate more slowly, air emissions are reduced and less ink is needed to complete the press run.
  • Recycling all wastepaper, cardboard, used printing plates and used toner cartridges. Recovering the aluminum, paper fibers and plastic from production materials conserves energy and natural resources while reducing the amount of solid waste produced and making the materials available for use in other products.
  • Using recycled paper whenever possible. Recycled paper saves natural resources, energy, and water. DES Printing and Imaging is dedicated to using post-consumer recycled fiber when possible.
  • Creating printing plates with Computer-to-Plate technology. Computer-to-Plate (CtP) technology allows us to produce printing plates directly from your digital files, eliminating the need to produce intermediate film negatives. CtP creates a higher quality printed image and eliminates the need for film and processing solutions in plate production, reducing the amount of energy and materials required to make printing plates and eliminating waste resulting from film negatives.
  • Using washable shop towels in the production area instead of disposable towels. Cloth towels are cleaned and re-used to avoid creating hazardous waste from disposable towels containing shop fluids.
  • Sending customer proofs electronically whenever possible. E-mailing proofs to customers as PDF files reduces the amount of paper and toner used by our Prepress section, and eliminates the need to transport printed proofs by motor vehicle.
  • Encouraging customers to use electronic requisition forms and Internet applications to order by computer. Submitting print orders by Internet and e-mail reduces the number of paper forms that must be printed and transported by motor vehicle - preserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing pollution.
  • Re-using the packing material received in incoming shipments to package outgoing deliveries. By using the packing peanuts we receive in our supply shipments to protect outgoing deliveries, we eliminate the need to dispose of Styrofoam in local landfills and reduce the need to purchase packing materials.

To find out more about sustainability efforts in Washington state government, please visit Results Washington. The site contains an overview of state sustainability goals, agency success stories, and many useful links.

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