Since the “Inkjet Drupa” last May there has been a lot of discussion on the recyclability of papers that have been printed using digital printing methods. In September 2008 the Digital Print De-inking Alliance (DPDA) was created between HP, InfoPrint Solutions Company, Kodak´s Graphic Communications Group, and Oce N.V to sponsor research on the recyclability of inkjet-printed paper.
InfoTrends recently released a strategic assessment that “looks into the process of paper recycling, investigates the current state of the art, and provides an overview on possible strategies as recyclability will become an even stronger qualifier for the acceptance of future products and processes.” The assessment Challenges and Strategic Importance of Recycling Digital Print was conducted by Andrew Tribute and Ralf Schlözer.
In an article published at WhatTheyThink Andrew Tribute points to the need for partnership to move new digital printing processes to the point where these processes are environmentally sound:
What we really should be considering is that digital printing technology has an excellent record of ongoing development. Initially dry toner based xerographic printing was very poor for deinking, but today is considered ideal for this. There is no doubt that those technologies that are giving problems today, will be enhanced to be excellent for deinking with a few years. It is also interesting to note that the products of both HP Indigo and aqueous pigmented ink output from inkjet presses is very small percentage today of the total amount of recovered paper. By the time the volume of such output becomes a more significant percentage of the total amount of recovered paper within two or three years, these outputs will not cause a deinking problem. One also has to consider that aqueous pigmented inks rather than solvent inks are going to be the future of digital inkjet printing, and we have to ensure such output is fully recyclable. Ingede should in fact recognize this and be more inclined to work with the DPDA and other organizations in ensuring aqueous inks, both pigment and dye based, become more environmentally suitable. It should see its future as a partner to the companies developing the future environmentally sound printing technologies rather than just an organization that simply looks at today’s problems of deinking in the paper recycling process.
Read the rest of Andy’s article for more details on the findings in the InfoTrend report.