Healthy Printing Initiative
To improve food safety and recycling costs, EPEA with support from the DOEN Foundation is launching a healthy printing initiative to scale up availability of healthy substances in printed publications & packaging, and invites its customers & partners to join the alliance.
Everybody uses printing, but until now there was nowhere for buyers and suppliers to work together to develop economy of scale for healthy printing. The initiative fills that gap. Compared to efforts that aim to ban hazardous substances, this one aims at making printed paper a more economical resource for recycling and composting.
“So-called ‘sustainable’ paper efforts have been around for years, but printing is the elephant in the room,” remarked EPEA CEO Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart. “You can only have safe and economical paper recycling with healthy printing. EPEA works with dozens of printing and paper industry participants and today many products are Cradle-to-Cradle certified.”
Printing affects millions of tonnes of new paper products and most recycled paper. The drive was launched partially due to revelations that mineral oils, coatings and other substances in packaging are contaminating fast foods and foods in supermarkets.
“The DOEN Foundation is pleased to be co-funding this initiative,” said DOEN Executive Director Anneke Sipkens, “We are especially focusing support on the pre-competitive space where buyers and suppliers are able to co-operate for the benefit of a clean planet and of consumers. Because it’s important for us to walk our talk, we are investigating the potential for clean printing within our own organization as well.”
“We are inviting every EPEA partner as well as print media to ‘walk the talk’ by joining the initiative because they can be big drivers of healthy printing and an inspiration to others,” said Katja Hansen who coordinates the initiative. “Everybody from packaging manufacturers to printers and suppliers of inks is being approached’.
EPEA & B.A.U.M. release Healthy Printing Report
Magazines, packaging, printing inks and office paper enrich our everyday lives. But how good are these products for people and the environment? What about recyclability? The joint report by B.A.U.M. and EPEA as part of the Healthy Printing Initiative shows how to design healthy printing products to achieve a new quality of recycling and to make the most of paper as a valuable resource.
More than 400 million tons of paper are produced each year. The global market grows annually by approx. 1.5%, with one driver being the use of paper as a substitute for packaging based on non-degradable plastic from fossil raw materials.
In theory, paper is an ideal biological product that can be returned into the biosphere after a cascade use. However, through processing steps such as bleaching or printing, some problematic additives are added that prevent safe recycling. Thus, every year printed products such as packaging and paper worth about € 13 billion end up in incinerators.
The recently published report not only presents first solutions, but also highlights the competitive advantages that can be achieved along the supply chain – from packaging manufacturers to printing companies to printing ink suppliers – through healthy printing.