An Environmental Endeavour
Being environmentally responsible underpins everything Print Menagerie does. From moving equipment by cargo bike to printing with water based ink – when we think print, we think in green.
But we’re not just going to green-wash how we work and what we produce. We are not 100% green and once you start digging you will find that it’s very difficult to have zero impact on the environment. Somewhere along the production line a compromise is usually made. Having researched the practicalities of working as a ‘green printmaker’ we know that it is very difficult but we have thought very carefully about what we use and why.
Print Menagerie use water based etching and relief ink (Calico). These inks can take longer to dry on paper and cannot be left on the print machine overnight, unlike rubber based inks. However, they can be washed up with soap. We use Ecover, vegetable oil and Mystrol (a mild skin irritant but not toxic) for cleaning. All our machines are manual and were bought second hand. Where we can, we source recycled FCS accredited paper and use and re-use post-consumer waste newsprint. Our screen printing inks are water based and non-toxic (Permaset) and our screen printing process uses thermo-heat and light to ‘burn’ or ‘flash’ an image onto a screen using the Riso Screenfax 275 or Gocco so there are no emulsions or screen cleaning fluids and we recycle any photo polymer plastics that we use.
There is plenty of room for improvement but this is where we are right now. Our ‘Printing Green Endeavour’ is continually discovering new and improved ways to print images in an Eco friendly way.
Discussion on this subject is heated and worth investigation. To help we have attached a few links that guided us in our endless quest to print a lighter shade of green.
Briar Press: Intelligent and heated discussion about eco-printing amongst Letterpress Printers.
Briar Press: Another thread from the same site with an informative online discussion.
Boxcar Press: Printmakers and Letterpress Printers writing about their eco-friendly printing techniques.
Non-Toxic Printmaking (Printmaking Handbooks) Author Mark Graver: There are others, but this is a good beginners guide and gets you thinking. Available at all bookshops!