We hear a lot about the Circular Economy most of it quite confusing for printing companies and print buyers. However, we recently came across a comprehensive explanation of the Circular Economy and its underlying principles. It was provided by the Advisory Committee on Environmental Aspects (ACEA) which helps the International Electronics Committee with environmental matters. Solange Blaszkowski chair of the ACEA says that 50 million tonnes of electronic waste go to landfill annually and that over 75% of the earth’s surface shows signs of degradation “mostly due to human doing”. The Circular Economy is about fixing that and ensuring sustainable growth for a rising global population.
Now that there is more time to plan the next Drupa, we thought it might be interesting to explore some ideas for what might be interesting environmental impact additions to the show.
Awards for sustainability in the graphics sector are not particularly common, and few have lasted more than a couple of years, despite the industry’s need for positive environmental messaging. But since the inception of the Sonora Plate Green Leaf in 2013 awards Kodak has continued to acknowledge customers for their commitment to improving the environmental impact of their businesses. For the 2019 Sonora Plate Green Leaf awards Kodak has recognised 52 printers, an astonishing increase in the number of recipients over the last few years. The programme started in 2013 and in 2016 there were eight winners. This year’s crop of 52 represents a more than 600% increase. That says a lot for the technology, but also for the commitment of printers to improve their sustainability.
According to the European Union’s (EU) REACH legislation, chromium trioxide (CrO3) is a substance of high concern and its use should have been banned by 21 September 2017. However the EU Commission has authorised its continued use because CrO3 has been shown to be indispensable for a number of industries. These include printing, aviation and cars. CrO3 is used in cylinder plating in gravure printing and an alternative to replace it for cylinder plating and other applications is still not in sight.
Drupa 2020 is off until April 2021, which hopefully will give the organisers time to rethink their sustainability strategy. The event originally conceived for this year was to have had other priorities than sustainability. The speaker programme includes relatively limited sustainability input, for instance Achim Halpaap, a senior advisor from the United Nations Environmental Programme was to have been talking about sustainability in the printing and packaging industry with a particular focus on trends, tools and leadership.