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