Greening Print Marketing: Flexo Bests Gravure for Sustainability

For packaging and other high-volume jobs, should you select flexo or gravure from an environmental perspective? According to two peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies published by DuPont, the answer is flexo.

The study could not do a direct comparison of gravure cylinders and mounted flexographic plates because they are not functionally equivalent. However, the study did investigate the cradle-to-grave environmental footprint of both processes based on final printed film.

Once all things were taken into consideration, the Life Cycle Assessment findings showed that flexo printing reduces non-renewable energy consumption and greenhouse gases by 50%, on average, when compared to gravure printing.  The average overall flexography greenhouse gas emissions impact is 51% lower and the non-renewable energy use is 48% lower than the rotogravure impact.

The full report, Life Cycle Assessment: Flexographic and Rotogravure Printing Comparison & Flexographic Plate Imaging Technologies, is available from DuPont.

Image source: Life Cycle Assessment: Flexographic and Rotogravure Printing Comparison & Flexographic Plate Imaging Technologies

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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