United States
                     Environmental Protection
                         Pollution Prevention
                         and Toxics
                                        September 1995
Design  for  the  Environment
Screen  Printing  Project
       U.S. EPA*

  What Is Design for the
  The Design for the
  Environment (DfE) Program
  harnesses EPA's expertise and
  leadership to facilitate informa-
  tion exchange and research on
  risk reduction and pollution
  prevention efforts. DfE works
  with both large and small
  businesses on  a voluntary
  basis, and its wide-ranging
  projects include:
   Changing general business
    practices to  incorporate
    environmental concerns.
   Working with specific indus-
    tries to evaluate the risks,
    performance, and costs of
    alternative chemicals,
    processes, and technolo-
   Helping individual business-
    es undertake environmental
    design efforts through the
    application of specific tools
    and methods.
  DfE partners include:
   Professional Institutions
   Environmental and Public
    Interest Groups
   Other Government Agencies
                               Designing Solutions
                               for  Screen  Printers
          Why is EPA
          Working With
          Screen Printers?
                                                     There are about
                                                     20,000 graphic art
                      screen printing shops in the United States. These
                      mostly small- and medium-sized businesses per-
                      form diverse functions ranging from the printing
of billboard advertisements and posters to printing onto electronic equip-
ment. Screen printing involves stretching a porous mesh material over a
frame to form a screen. Then a rubber-type blade (squeegee) is swept across
the screen surface, pressing ink through a stencil and onto the print materi-
al. 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.
The Design for the Environment (DfE) Screen Printing Project is a
unique,  voluntary effort between the screen printing industry and  the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicated to helping screen
printers prevent pollution and reduce risks  to their workers and the environ-
ment in cost-effective ways. Printers, EPA, product manufacturers, and the
screen printing trade association are all concerned with minimizing the envi-
ronmental and health risks of screen reclamation chemicals currently used
in screen printing shops. DfE's goal in working with screen printers is to
help them make more informed choices, now and in the future, by promot-
ing the search for and evaluation of cleaner products, processes, and  tech-
          How Did the DfE
          Printing Projects
          Get Started?
                      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 two separate projects aimed
at preventing pollution in the industry, one focused on the screen printing
sector, and the other on the lithography sector. Each project addresses a dif-
ferent area of environmental concern in the printing process. In lithography
the focus is on blanket washes, while for screen printing the project partners
chose to look at screen reclamation. DfE Screen Printing Project partners
include the Screenprinting and Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA),the
University of Tennessee, and individual printers and suppliers.

What Has the DfE
Screen Printing

Technical Studies
DfE's work with the screen
printing industry is conducted
under three distinct project
areas: technical studies,
implementation, and outreach.
The DfE Screen Printing Project completed a compari-
son of the environmental and human health risk, per-
formance, and cost of 14 substitute screen recla-
mation product systems and technologies. The pro-
ject collected hazard and environmental release infor-
mation (i.e., releases to air, water, land) on 72 different
chemicals that are found in these screen reclamation
systems. With this information, the project assessed
the risks to human health and the environment posed
by the substitute product systems and technologies.
Performance was evaluated in two phases: 1) the
Screen Printing Technical Foundation's laboratory eval-
uated the products under controlled conditions, and, 2)
field demonstrations at volunteer printers' facilities
provided performance information under "real world"
conditions of production. Twenty-three screen printing
shops volunteered to use the substitute product sys-
tems for one month. The participating printers record-
ed the amount of product used, the length of time
needed to reclaim the  screens, and their opinion of
how well the product cleaned the screen.
The information collected in the performance demon-
stration was used to develop  cost data for each of the
demonstrated product systems  and technologies.
The Screen Printing Project also identified simple
workplace practice changes that printers can easily and
cheaply implement.  In addition, new methods and
technologies were examined that might help printers
improve their bottom line while reducing human
health and environmental impacts.
Information on the comparative risk, performance, and
cost of each of the substitute product systems and
technologies is contained in the DfE Screen Printing
Project's full technical report, the Screen Reclamation
Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment (CTSA).
The Screen Reclamation CTSA is the first that DfE has
completed, and it will  be used as a model for future
assessments of pollution prevention opportunities in
other industries.
Implementation Efforts
In an effort to encourage pollution prevention in the
screen printing industry, the DfE Screen Printing
Project is providing technical assistance to screen print-
ers. In cooperation with the Small Business
Administration, the New Jersey Small Business
Development Center, and SGIA, the project has pro-
duced a training video entitled Saving Money and
Reducing Waste. The video provides screen printers with
concrete ideas on how to prevent pollution and reduce
waste in their shops, as well as promote new ways to
impove  their processes.
The project has also developed computer software that
helps screen printers assess the profitability of pollu-
tion prevention investments using total cost assessment
techniques. The DfE Screen Printing Project is con-
ducting pilot workshops for screen printers in 1995 on
how to use the software.
Both of these products are available at low cost to
printers, technical assistance providers, and others
interested in pollution prevention in the screen print-
ing industry.

Outreach Activities
The project has created a variety of informational
materials based on the Screen Reclamation CTSA. To
explain to printers the results of the assesment, the
project produced a simple, concise brochure. A series of
case studies also has been developed to help screen
printers sort through some of the different factors that
can make one product system, technology, or work
practice a more attractive substitute than another.
Other information products geared to small- and medi-
um-sized screen printers are also under
Culminating their three-year cooperative effort, DfE
and SGIA co-sponsored the  first annual screen printing
industry conference on the environment. The confer-
ence highlighted pollution prevention resources includ-
ing those developed for the DfE Screen Printing
                                  How Can I Get More Information?
                                  To learn more about the Screen Printing Project or
                                  EPA's Design for the Environment Program, or to
                                  obtain the documents described in this fact sheet,
                                                        EPA's Pollution Prevention
                                                          Information Clearinghouse
                                                        U.S. Environmental Protection
                                                        401 M Street, S.W. (7409)
                                                        Washington, DC  20460
                                                        Tel: 202 260-1023
                                                        Fax: 202  260-4659