The following manufacturers offer a variety of eco-friendly products ranging from textiles to laminates. Each manufacturer classifies why the product is considered eco-friendly.
The majority of 3P InkJet Textiles AG’s Green Fabric line is recyclable, with a few products currently in testing. All are manufactured according ISO 14001. A sample includes products from 3P’s Value line—Premium Flag FR, Value Spinnaker FR, Value Voile FR, Value Flag FR, Value Gloss FR, Value Satin FR, and Value Canvas FR.
In 2008 Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc. launched the Weaves of Green line. Act II and Replay II are woven from 100 percent post consumer recycled polyester, the source being plastic drink bottles. One roll of 120-inch by 100-yard Act II keeps 1,800 16-ounce drink bottles out of landfills. Aurora carries out the end of the product lifecycle by collecting all scraps and discarded prints and placing them into the recycle stream through the FabRecycle program. These scraps are recycled into carpet padding and insulation fiber.
The conVerd by Aconda paper line is manufactured from pulp that is FSC-certified, carbon neutral, and 100 percent recyclable. Indoor media includes Blox-Lite, a 100 percent opaque, grommetable banner and sign material; CityLight, a backlit poster paper; Enviroboard FT, a flame retardant rigid board; Enviroboard MR, a moisture resistant rigid board; and Hydros Board, a flame retardant poster board. Outdoor media includes CityLight and in addition, Mural Azul; a poster paper designed for billboard applications.
Cooley Sign & Digital Products is currently developing lightweight materials with durability as the main focus. Cooley’s Enviroflex product line is mainly used in billboard applications. It was designed to reduce environmental waste, offer reusable media, and heighten recyclability. Media includes EnviroFlex Lite, EnviroFlex Lite Hi-Res, EnviroFlex Polyflex Lite, EnviroFlex Polyposter, and EnviroFlex Polyposter Hi-Res.
Under DHJ International’s Decoprint line of products, the company recently released "green" versions of existing media. No PVC resins are used in the coatings, nor are heavy metals, fungicides, phthalates, or VOCs included in the manufacturing process. DHJ also considers the Acqua’print line of fabrics, coated polyester media for direct to print dye dispersal, environmentally friendly.
Dickson Coatings manufactures the Evergreen line of eco-friendly print media, including JetTex, Jet210, and Jet220. When these products are manufactured, no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the atmosphere and 50 percent less raw materials are used in comparison to PVC. No PVC phthalates, phosphates, formaldehydes, or glycolethers are used throughout the production process.
DuPont’s Tyvek portfolio of products is the company’s most sustainable product line. DuPont Tyvek Vivia is the company’s first offering for wide format, targeting UV technology with the added functionality of enhanced drapeability and brightness. The media is lightweight, provides a long life span, has excellent recyclability potential, and is a non-invasive landfill option.
EcoMedia, Inc.’s UV compatible media products are based on the philosophy of sustainable innovation. Banner, backlit, and blockout materials are 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable.
Fisher Textiles Inc.’s eco-friendly media line, Enviro-Tex, uses Repreve, a recycled polyester yarn reduces energy consumption and conserves petroleum resources by offsetting the need to produce virgin polyester during its manufacturing process. Fabrics in this line contain at least 40 percent of Repreve yarn, while some, like the ET 9975 Power Stretch, consist of 95 percent Repreve yarn. Other fabrics in the Enviro-Tex line include ET 9417 Soft Knit, ET 9450 Symmetry, ET 9460 Poly Knit, ET 9496 Heavy Knit, and ET 9499 Firesafe.
The Gilman Brothers Company’s Insite Biodegradable is a foam board with a rigid foam center made from 15 percent recycled content; which breaks down in landfills over one to five years. Also, the liner is made from wood products certified by the Sustainable Forest Initiative. Duraplast Biodegradable is a 100 percent recyclable foam board with a biodegradable polystyrene foam center that is 15 percent recyclable and has biodegradable polystyrene liners.
Hahnemühle USA’s Bamboo was the company’s first eco-friendly product. The smooth media depicts a warm base color, ideal for landscapes and portraits. It is composed from bamboo, which is a renewable resource given its rapid growth rate. In Spring 2009 Hahnemühle introduced Sugar Cane. The sugar cane pulp used to construct the media is a widely renewable resource and is harvested prior to the field burning of the reeds; reducing airborne contamination.
Hexis S.A. offers several media and laminates that are considered eco-friendly. The PG880 laminate, for example, is a polyester laminate boasting low toxicity levels during degradation—the absence of chlorine, cadmium, and other toxic compounds.
Legion Paper Corporation manufactures 100 percent cotton papers for the Moab fine art paper line as well paper made from mulberry and hemp. Coincidentally cotton is both eco-friendly and durable. It is one of the strongest fibers used to make paper. Additionally, the cotton offers a surface texture and feel that enhances images. Some of Moab’s mulberry-based media contains visible mulberry fibers, adding another dimension to the print.
LexJet Corporation’s new 3R DuPont Tyvek SUV is completely sustainable. It is lightweight, reducing environmental impact across the supply chain. Additionally, it is durable enough for repeated use and is recyclable. Users of this media can take advantage of the LexJet Banner Recycling Program. With Trex Company, LexJet allows participants to mail used banners printed on 3R DuPont Tyvek SUV to Trex, who recycles them into decking, railing, and fencing products. LexJet also sells PEFC/FSC certified papers, which are composed of certified timber and paper products from sustainable forests.
Neschen Americas manufactures 100 percent cotton SolvoTex Cotton Premium Light S and SolvoTex Cotton Premium Heavy S. The textiles feature degradable coatings that produce vivid color and deep black. When printed with environmentally friend inks the final product is completely green.
All of Pacific Coast Fabrics, Inc.’s textiles are 100 percent recyclable. Products such as Jet Flag, Deko-Tex, Polyester Taffeta, Satinette, and Denier Polyester are manufactured in an European mill, which operates under ISO 14001. This states that product processes must be optimized to the lowest pollution levels and highest energy efficiency. The fabrics are also certified to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, guaranteeing they meet human ecological requirement standards.
Ultraflex Systems, Inc.’s UltraGreen line includes PVC, polyethylene, and textile media. BIOflex FL is a matte PVC banner material used for solvent or screenprinting. In landfill conditions it attracts microbes that breakdown the PVC within three to five years. PolyeLite is a 100 percent recyclable frontlit PE substrate with a white face and silver back. Textiles from the UltraGreen line are all recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable. Products include UltraCotton C200, UltraTex Organic U230, and UltraTex Organic C265.
Next week look for the conclusion of our four part series on eco-friendly media. Nora Norby from print shop Banner Creations, Inc. discusses the environmentally friendly initiatives she is enacting on a regular basis.
Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Why Go Eco?
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Cautionary Terminology.