Ink waste / Packaging waste





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Ink waste / Packaging waste
Nowadays, environmental concerns have to be taken into account at all levels in the consumer chain. This starts with the manufacture of the product itself, through to its use and finally its disposal and the disposal of its packaging. In this chapter, we propose covering some of the major issues relating to the disposal of waste materials containing inks or varnishes:
1. Legislation
2. Ink and varnish waste
3. Ink and varnish packaging waste
4. Printed packaging waste


1. Legislation

Various types of European Community and National legislation govern waste disposal. Firstly, there is the European Directive 97/138/CE of February 1997, which covers packaging waste. This Directive is itself based on the European Directive 94/62/CE, which covers packaging and packaging waste.
The principal requirements of this latter directive involve the heavy metal content of the packaging, or of its constituent parts. At the moment, four heavy metals are considered to present a hazard to the natural environment. Their metal derivatives, which are likely to be used in ink formulations, are therefore concerned by this legislation. The four metals in question are lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium. For packaging applications, the total amount of these 4 elements must not exceed the following levels:
• 600 ppm by weight, application 30/06/1998.
• 250 ppm by weight, application 30/06/1999.
• 100 ppm by weight, application 30/06/2001.

In fact, only lead pigments, whose use has been severely restricted and which have completely disappeared from ink formulations intended for packaging and magazines, give levels above these threshold limits in inks. The other derivatives encountered correspond to impurities from industrial products, and are only present in infinitesimal quantities. More recently, the French Decree N° 98-638 of 20th July 1998 corroborated these European Directives while integrating the recycling or, if appropriate, waste conversion of packaging. Inks are concerned by Article 3 of this Decree, which covers the design of packaging and its waste conversion and Article 4, which covers the heavy metal content as mentioned previously.

In the majority of cases, inks that are certified by their manufacturers meet these requirements in terms of:
• Waste energy conversion,
• Compliance with heavy metal contents.

According to their hazard properties and the risks associated with their disposal, waste can be classified into three categories:
• Special waste.
• Household and assimilated waste.
• Inert waste.

This classification comes from the European Directive 91/689/CE of 12th December 1991.

2. Ink and varnish wastes

Ink and varnish waste is considered as special waste. Therefore its disposal must comply with the regulations in force. French waste management policy has decreed that non treated waste can no longer be admitted in Class 1 waste dumps. In the case of inks, this requires the waste material to undergo a pre-treatment, which corresponds essentially to incineration

3. Ink and varnish packaging waste

As mentioned previously, all waste dumps will ultimately be closed except those that receive «final», in other words, indestructible waste. As soon as any soiled packaging can not be totally cleaned, it becomes waste. It is therefore necessary to sort waste in order to reduce the costs of disposal (special waste is more expensive to dispose of than harmless waste), and comply with regulations. In 1992, the SOGEFI (Holding company of the FIPEC) established a guide to Industrial Paints and Inks Waste. Using this work as a basis, the FIPEC has proposed a classification for this packaging and the recommended treatment solutions based on the container / content characteristics of the waste and the associated hazards. This classification complies with the sorting requirement (soiled / not soiled), based on 2 criteria:
• The classification and the preparation contained in the package.
• The cleaning of the package and the amount of residue present.
You will find this classification below as well as specific recommendations for printers in order to transform special waste into harmless waste. Packaging disposal is facilitated by carefully cleaning beforehand. Packaging cleaned in this way becomes harmless waste.

Packaging that has contained liquid inks

(normally used with extender solvents)

Rinse out the packaging with some of the solvent (this represents an economy, does not alter the quality and results in packaging that is virtually clean). Proceed as follows:
• Agitate the solvent in the packaging.
• Place the packaging upside down on a suitable support and allow it to drain completely.
• Preferably rinse several times with small quantities of solvent rather than in one large dose.
• Never seal up the packaging afterwards (the solvent vapour in the empty packaging may represent a hazard).
• Only compact packaging that has not been hermetically sealed.
• Separate metal and plastic packaging.

Please refer to the Material Safety Data Sheets for further information on specific precautions.

Packaging that has contained "paste" inks that dry by air oxidation

Carefully scrape out the ink using a spatula, then allow any residual ink to dry in contact with air (the adherent skin that forms is the same as a normal external print film).

Packaging that has contained "paste" inks that do not dry by air oxidation or UV inks

Carefully rinse out the packaging, then wipe clean.

These operations are sufficient to ensure that the packaging is considered as harmless, industrial waste:
 
 
Careful emptying
Rinsing with extender solvent and allowing to dry
Wiping or preferably rinsing
Liquid inks
 
Oxidisable inks
 
 
Non-oxidisable paste inks
 

Once the packaging has become “harmless waste”, destroy or score out any hazard labelling that may have been present originally.
TRANSPORT PACKAGING unsoiled
Waste recycling possibilities
 
Waste classification
Code
Re-use
Renovation
Recycling of materials
Incineration
Dumping
Wooden pallets
 
C.870
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No in future
Cardboards boxes
 
C.860
Yes
Yes
Plastic films
 
C.830
 
Yes
 
PRIMARY PACKAGING emptied, drained and dried
Waste recycling possibilities
 
Waste classification
Code
Re-use
Renovation
Recycling of materials
Incineration
Dumping
General case
HARMLESS
C.810 metal
Yes
(metal containers)
Yes
(metal)
Yes
No in future
Product labelled F, F+, T or Xn due to its solids content
Packaging rinsed
SPECIAL
C.830 plastic
Rarely
(plastic
containers)
Sometimes
(plastics)
Yes
No in future
Product labelled F, F+, T or Xn due to its solids content
Packaging not rinsed
SPECIAL
C.305 or code of the contained product
Rarely
(plastic
containers)
Sometimes
(plastics)
Yes
Prohibited
 
PACKAGING soiled
Waste recycling possibilities
 
Waste classification
Code
Re-use
Renovation
Recycling of materials
Incineration
Dumping
Packaging soiled by solid, paste or powder residues
SPECIAL
C.305 or code of the contained product
Yes
(metal containers)
after decontamination
(check on a case by case basis)
Yes
(metal)
Yes
Prohibited
 
Once the packaging has become “harmless waste”, destroy or score out any hazard labelling that may have been present originally.
 
 4. Printed packaging waste
The recycling of printed packaging waste requires the material to be recovered in order to be able to manufacture a new material. The majority of printed paper – cardboard recuperators recycle printed products directly and produce off-white paper or cardboard of “medium” quality. In order to improve the quality of these recycled materials, de-inking of printed packaging is sometimes used. However, de-inking techniques can be quite complex, depending on the type of ink involved (Offset, Flexo or UV). Furthermore, some of these techniques use up a lot of energy and the recovered ink sludge can only be incinerated. Finally, the quality of de-inked substrates still remains below standard substrates. The recycling of packaging materials has therefore become an essential factor in environmental protection. European and / or national legislation is evolving.
The information given in this article is therefore also likely to evolve over time.

Do not hesitate to contact ours QSE department for any question.
 





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