About the Screen Printing Project
DfE began working with the printing industry in 1992, when the Printing Industries of America (PIA) requested EPA's assistance in evaluating environmental claims for products. This effort ultimately grew into three separate projects aimed at preventing pollution in the industry: screen printing, lithographic printing, and flexographic printing. The Screen Printing partnership chose to look at the environmental issues associated with screen reclamation.
About 20,000 graphic art screen printing shops exist in the United States. These mostly small- and medium-sized businesses perform diverse functions ranging from the printing of billboard advertisements and posters to printing onto electronic equipment. In the course of providing their services, screen printers can reclaim the screens using solvents to remove inks, emulsion (stencils), and remnant image elements so the screens can be used again. The use of these solvents, however, can pose potential risks to the people who work with them and to the environment.
DfE's work with the screen printing industry has involved the development of many tools and publications, including technical studies, implementation tools, and outreach products.