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Lithographic Printing Partnership

About This Project | Findings & Accomplishments | Publications | Partners

What Is Lithography?

The lithographic printing process involves a plate on which the image and non-image areas are on the same plane, as opposed to being either raised or indented. Lithography dominates the printing of books, magazines, and newspapers in addition to advertising materials, envelopes, stationery, and greeting cards. Consequently, lithography accounts for almost 50 percent of the commercial printing market.

Lithography Project  - Logo

The goals of the DfE Lithographic Printing Partnership were to help the nation's 54,000 lithographic printing shops:


  • Incorporate environmental consideration into business decisions.
  • Switch to blanket washes that contain fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lower vapor pressure, and fewer hazardous chemicals, where appropriate.

Lithography partners focused their efforts on blanket washes, which are a major source of VOC emissions and can pose risks to workers and surrounding communities. In addition, many new, potentially less harmful washes are now available, and printers need help evaluating the performance, cost, and environmental and health impacts of these "substitute" washes.

To address this need, project partners evaluated 37 commercially available washes, the results of which are summarized in Solutions for Lithographic Printers and presented in full in Cleaner Technology Substitutes Assessment: Lithographic Blanket Washes.

To encourage environmental improvements in the Spanish-speaking lithographic workplace - and educate students about environmental issues - DfE and the Printing Industries Association, Inc. of Southern California (PIASC) held a bilingual poster contest. Congratulations to the Lithography poster contest winners!

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