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HP Expands Environmental Sustainability Initiatives with HP Indigo

Friday, December 06, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

Deinkability and recyclable packaging advancements reinforce HP’s commitment to environmental responsibility

PALO ALTO, Calif. – HP today announced developments that help reduce the environmental impact of HP Indigo digital prints. Updates include:

  • New trials that conclusively demonstrate the deinkability of HP Indigo prints in typical Graphic Arts Paper deinking mill configuration,
  • Fully recyclable packaging for ink cartridges,
  • Expansion of its take-back program for recycling consumables, and
  • Reduction of the HP Indigo carbon footprint.

With these developments, HP Indigo continues to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to environmental responsibility in the printing industry.

Deinkability of HP Indigo prints conclusively demonstrated by recent deinking trials

HP Indigo prints are fully recyclable and can be placed in normal recycling collection. Deinking, or removing ink from paper fibers, is one of the key steps in the paper recycling process for manufacturing recycled Graphic Arts papers.

Over the last few years, HP collaborated with a range of industry and academic deinking experts to gather lab-scale, pilot-scale and mill-scale deinking data that verify HP Indigo prints can be deinked in a typical graphic art paper deinking mill configuration.

In June 2013, Voith Paper, a leading supplier of deinking equipment, and the Paper Technology Department of PMV Darmstadt, a leading German technical institute, conducted two pilot-scale trials with five percent and 10 percent HP Indigo feed. The research found that even with 10 percent HP Indigo feed, the pulp produced in the trials was suitable for standard and higher quality Graphic Arts recycled paper grades.

The trials were held at the Voith Paper Fiber Systems Technology Center in Ravensburg, Germany for its near-mill-scale equipment, creating a realistic simulation of a standard graphic art deinking mill, including drum pulping, two flotations and one disperger. An important feature of the trial was that disperger energy typical of industry mills was used. A detailed report from the pilot trial will be published in the near future.

“These pilot plant trials have convincingly demonstrated the deinking ability of HP Indigo prints using standard 2-loop deinking processes,” said Jürgen Dockal, product development engineer, Voith Paper Ravensburg Fiber Systems Technology Center. “Proven equipment and standard deinking chemistry can be used, and parameters such as brightness development, ash content and yield are unaffected by the presence of up to 10 percent Liquid ElectroPhotographic prints.” 

PMV-Darmstadt has made significant progress in developing a lab scale 2-loop test that correlates with the Voith Paper pilot trial.

These results complement two previous full-scale mill deinking trials, which were conducted in collaboration with Arjowiggins Graphic at its 3-loop Greenfield deinking mill in Chateau-Thierry, France in November 2011 and October 2012.  In the mill-scale trials, five percent HP Indigo Liquid ElectroPhotographic prints (LEP) were added to the standard mill furnish.  In both cases, high-quality deinked pulp was produced without affecting mill process efficiencies or operating parameters. 

“The results of the pilot-scale trials show that printed paper from HP Indigo digital presses is compatible with typical graphic arts deinking mills even at levels higher than what likely would be encountered,” said Yogev Barak, director of current business management, Indigo division, HP. “Along with results from the Arjowiggins deinking mill trials, these latest results show that HP Indigo users can continue to feel confident that HP Indigo prints can be recycled back to high-quality graphic arts papers.”

New recyclable packaging for ink cartridges

As a part of HP’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, HP Indigo introduced improved ink cartridge packaging for the HP Indigo 6000 and 7000 series Digital Presses. The new cushioning tray is made of 100 percent recycled, molded pulp and is 100 percent recyclable. Users can now dispose the cushioning tray with the ink cartridge’s cardboard box.

Expanded supplies take-back and recycling program

HP offers free take-back services for HP Indigo supplies for customers in more than 17 countries around the world.(1) The program is now expanded to include series four binary ink developer (BID) base and BID roller used in the HP Indigo 10000, 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses.

Reducing the carbon footprint of HP Indigo

HP continues its program to offset carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and integration of the new generation HP Indigo Digital Presses. Working with the Good Energy Initiative, HP Indigo supports projects in the community that offset the net contribution of carbon emissions from the manufacturing process. As a result, all HP Indigo series three presses are manufactured carbon neutral.(2)

More information about HP Indigo digital presses is available at http://www.hp.com/go/indigo, on the HP Graphic Arts YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/hpgraphicarts, or through the HP Graphic Arts Twitter Feed, www.twitter.com/hpgraphicarts.

 

Discussion

By Axel Fischer on Jan 26, 2014

Nothing changed: Indigo is not deinkable.

Nothing has changed about the detrimental properties of HP Indigo prints in the recycling process for graphic papers as well as hygiene papers. Neither have Indigo inks changed to be deinkable all of a sudden nor has the recycling process. All prior results that prove the poor deinkability of HP Indigo prints are still valid, especially the involuntary mill trial in 2011: There a fraction of less than 3 percent “real” Indigo printer waste from a photobook printer left 140 tons of recycled paper with intolerable visible amounts of dirt specks, causing a damage of more than 150,000 Euro for the mill.

Indigo still is more a lamination than a printing process -- a layer of very thin polyethylene film like a shopping bag laminated onto paper. No wonder that this plastic film is difficult to be removed in a process designed to remove printing inks.

Despite the claims about the experimental trial in Château Thierry, HP has yet failed to provide a single graphic paper mill in Europe willing to utilize Indigo printer waste from their biggest European customers. On the contrary, with the new EN 643 standard for paper for recycling, Indigo printer waste is now also formally “unwanted material” for deinking. The total of all unwanted material in the paper is 1.5 percent in the “European list of standard grades of paper and board for recycling” -- this means as little as possible as this limit includes also most flexographic prints, undeinkable UV cured inks and undeinkable inkjet.

In the press release above, nothing is said about dirt specks which are the relevant parameter causing the poor deinkability of Indigo prints. Neither brightness nor ash content nor yield have been a relevant problem ever in treating Indigo waste – the quote can only be seen as some diversionary tactic. More than a month after the release, HP still did not disclose the relevant test results. With the experience of the “real” incident of an involuntary mill trial, it does not make sense to change laboratory parameters again and again until some test conditions are found, that are a little more favorable for HP but do not match the conditions and conclusions in a real deinking plant.

The same is the case for the claimed mill trials in Château Thierry. The plant there is a market pulp plant, producing deinked pulp of a very high brightness under unfavorable economic and ecological conditions: Additional washing steps that are unique to this mill reduce the yield and increase the cost significantly. Therefore, this mill is far away from being an example for a standard European deinking mill that produces newsprint, higher grade graphic paper or hygiene paper. The only conclusion that the Château Thierry trials allow is what INGEDE has been said a year ago already: Label all Indigo prints and ship them to Château Thierry, but keep them out of the rest of Europe. But not even this seems possible.

More unexplainable green claims

A further case of unexplainable green claims by HP is the American “UL 2801 Environmental Standard”, custom made in cooperation with HP and yet only applied for by HP. But both products that have “achieved” that “Standard for Sustainability for Printing Inks”, HP’s Latex and A50 inkjet inks, do not fulfil the deinkability requirement included in this standard: In two tests with two different papers the latex inks failed the requirements by far; the A50 inkjet inks were only deinkable for simplex prints with low coverage on a few papers. The conditions under which HP wants to have achieved deinkability for the UL 2801 standard, “are confidential”, says UL.

 

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