One way to check and co-ordinate the elements of our environmental policy, as well as measuring progress, is the Eco Balance, which has been operational throughout Roto Smeets Group since 1994. The Eco Balance is a mass balance of all inflows and outflows of materials and has displayed a clear, continuous improvement in recent years, compared with 1994, the reference year.
The data produced by Roto Smeets Group are coordinated and validated by TME – the Institute for Applied Environmental Economics – which specialises in the economics and management of the environment and natural resources.
The Ecobalance measures the streams in the individual Roto Smeets Group plants and the plants as a whole. It is not just a record. If performance is accurately captured in terms of numbers, it becomes possible to set precise goals with plans for action, the results of which can also be precisely measured. Because the Ecobalance reveals the companies’ complete material budget, it can be used not only to manage emissions but also to help in the efficient management of raw materials and ancillary chemicals in the production process.
A more accurate picture is gained by comparing results for the previous five years.
Explanatory notes to the 2012 charts:
The data presented here are taken from the RSG Ecobalance
and represent a careful measurement of all incoming
and outgoing flows. The figures below come from the RSG
Ecobalance, which is derived from a careful record of all inflows
and outflows. It should be noted, however, that not all flows
are easy to weigh. The release of volatile compounds from
certain formulations, for instance, has to be assessed from a
given percentage evaporation. In such cases we have to rely on
theoretical and empirical knowledge, such as that presented in
the Information Sheet L33 Air, “Solvent Resolution” by InfoMil,
verified as far as possible by tests and measurements made on
the shop floor.
The data relate to the energy and water consumed in business
operations, and the materials used in the production process.
The Input side of the Ecobalance records the raw materials,
ancillaries and process materials, while the Output consists
of products and wastes (solid waste, waste water, emissions),
all insofar as they relate directly to the RSG production plants
in the Netherlands. Naturally, indirect environmental aspects
are also involved, such as the production of materials that RSG
purchases, or the processing of waste streams from the plants.
However, environmental burdens that occur elsewhere in the
chain do not firm part of the Ecobalance and are not shown in
the data below. This does not, incidentally, means that RSG’s
concern starts only after purchase, nor that it stops after the
waste has been removed. RSG is active in other parts of the
chain as it imposes demands on suppliers and waste processors,
and educates its business contacts. Care like this also forms
part of the ISO 14001 environmental management system.
The presentation shows the 2012 data in every case accompanied
by data from the four previous years. Data for different
years cannot be simply compared. Changes of production
volume naturally influence both input and output. For that
reason, all absolute consumption and emission data have been
recalculated in terms of quantities per ton of paper that passed
through the presses.
Nearly all consumption data show a relatively fl at trend. This is
due to the fact that all data are expressed in terms of kilograms
of paper consumed. Recent years have seen sizes and print
runs decline, with fewer titles and a shift to lighter paper
substances. This influences the relationship with the consumption
of raw materials, ancillaries and process chemicals. The
use of lighter weight papers - which means that the number of
kilograms drops – ‘disturbs’ the trend in the index values.
In absolute terms, the plants have once again achieved good
results, as exemplified by energy consumption. In total, energy
consumption dropped by 4.6% compared to 2011, but the index
in gigajoule/ton paper input has risen slightly, due to the fact
that the quantity of paper processed shrunk by 8%, while
there are equipments that must be continually supplied with
electricity, even when production stops.
Ink usage has declined recently thanks to monitoring by the
measurement systems. The rotogravure presses use a GMI
system, which uses a photospectrometer to continuously measure
the printed paper web. The inking system is managed fully
automatically according to predefined density standards. The
sheet-fed presses use the InktStar system, which replenished
the ink in measured doses, this economizing on ink usage.
Process optimization in the rotogravure plants is based on High
Performance (HP) inks combined with changes in the engraving
In the finishing departments the methylethylketone (MEK)
solvent-rich ink for the inkjet printers has been replaced by a
water-based ink, leading to a 60-70% reduction.
Ink consumption 2008 - 2012 (in kg/ton paper)
RSG has been concerned to reduce energy consumption for
years. Signifi cant results in this area are mainly thanks to
investments in replacement equipment. At SMD the investment
in a new cooler, for example, led to 25% less electricity
consumption. SMD are currently conducting an energy savings
audit, due for completion in April 2013. This will also cover the
measurement and recording of relevant energy parameters.
Despite the energy saving achievements, the index shows a
drop. As stated above, this is due to the fact that the amount of
paper processed has dropped by 8 %, while there are equipments
that must be continually supplied with electricity, even
when production has stopped.
Last year’s mild winter allowed us to report a drop in gas
consumption. The winter of 2012 was harsh, so gas consumption
for space heating rose. If we record consumption in degree
days, taking account of the external temperature, then we see
an average drop in gas consumption of 9 %. Gas consumption
dropped in the toluene recovery plants at the rotogravure
plants. Sieving out the active charcoal beds made them more
effective with lower energy consumption. The web-based plants
switched over to regenerative afterburners to treat their flue
gases, which has led to 75 % less gas consumption. Last year’s
lower production volume means that the gas consumption index
remained more or less constant.
Energy consumption 2008 – 2012 (gigajoule/ton paper input)
Waterconsumption (in m3/tonne paperinput) 2005-2009
Water consumption in 2012 was slightly higher than 2011, largely
due to the weather, aided by breakdowns, such the central
cooling in one plant and plate preparation in another. The index
is also influenced by the fact that the central coolers remain in
operation, even when less printing is done, as was the case in
The ancillary materials index is mainly determined by the consumption
of packaging materials such adhesives, staples, film,
and boxes. The Rotopack consumption figures were included in
the Ecobalance for the first time in 2012. Rotopack was an independent
finishing unit, specializing in stitching and packaging
consumer magazines. From van March 2013 Rotopack became
an integrated department of Roto Smeets Deventer. The 2012
figures have been incorporated here to facilitate comparison.
The consumption of packaging film and glue especially is higher
at Rotopack than at Roto Smeets Deventer, which affects the
ancillaries index. In absolute terms per plant, ancillary material
consumption declined. It is also worth mentioning that the use
of biodegradable packaging films is gaining ground over the
more common types (compared to 2011 with 200%).
Ancillary material consumption 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
Process materials include chemicals (broadly speaking one
third of the total mass), plates and the associated developer
and fixer, cleaning cloths, cleansing agents and disposable
packaging of products supplied to us. Consumption dropped
again, below the 2011 level. The offset plants have now moved
to Computer To Plate and the results of IPA reduction in recent
years have led to a considerable drop in chemical consumption.
In 2011 there was a rise, caused by the rotogravure plants,
but measures were taken there, leading in 2012 to 27% less
chemical use, as well as fewer polishing cloths, gloves and
lubricants. In general, process material consumption is strongly
influenced “from outside” as a result of the order package and
order portfolio (colour use, colour changes, print run, paper
types, etc.), since these determine the number of offset plates
and the quantity of cleaning materials needed. Apart from that,
though, the RSG plants are always committed to minimizing the
consumption of these materials in the daily conduct of their
business. In particular, the use of K2 cleanser has been dramatically
reduced in the offset plants, and the IPA consumption
has been cut by 65% over the past decade. The prepress process
in the rotogravure plants no longer use toluene, but Biosol G,
which is an ecologically sound industrial cleanser / degreaser
based on natural solvent and completely biodegradable.
Process material consumption 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
EMISSIONS TO WATER
Waste water receives attention in all plants as part of their
continuing effort to improve their production process. Emissions
have once again dropped, even below the 2010 level. The
temporary climb in 2011 was caused by the installation of a new
air humidifying plant.
The water used in the plants for household purposes and the
cooling towers does not come into contact with the production
process and therefore remains free of the chemicals used.
Most important is the waste water polluted by the production
process in the RSG plants. All the waste water the plants
discharge to the sewer receives additional final treatment in a
waste water treatment plant, which means they comply with
the permitted quality standards for waste water.
Emissions to water 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
EMISSIONS TO AIR
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions dropped once
again in 2012 below the 2011 level. Roughly 7% of the total
quantity of VOC consists of isopropylalcohol (IPA) used in the
offset plants. IPA consumption has been declining for years as
the press workers use lower dosages and print on alcohol-free
presses. This has resulted in immense cuts in VOC emissions: IPA
emissions have dropped by 65% in the past decade. Continuing
with minimal dosing, more alcohol-free printing or the use of
different additives remain the most significant ways to cut IPA
emissions even further in future.
VOCs also include other compounds, such as other moistening
water additives and cleansers, plus (in rotogravure) toluene
from the ink. Toluene is a solvent in the ink and some of it is
released during printing. This toluene containing air (79% of
VOC emissions) is drawn off above the presses and sent to a
The yield of these toluene recovery plants is around 99 %. On
balance, so much toluene is recovered that a considerable
amount can be sold back to the suppliers, after deduction of a
small amount for internal use. The possibilities to permanently
cut toluene emissions from the rotogravure plants lie mainly in
the use of high pigment inks and an expansion of concentration dependent
air extraction above the presses. However, the
prepress process has also ceased to use toluene, as they now
use clamps rather than glue, coupled with the use of Biosol G,
which has led to a slight decline.
Once the printed matter is finally ready, it can still give rise to
minor VOC emissions. The rotogravure ink still contains toluene,
which is released gradually. This occurs first of all in the plant,
where the work stands ready for dispatch, during transport
or even further down the line. Within RSG this emission is
being dealt with by modifying the ink formulas to influence
the moment of toluene release, so that it is freed during the
production process, where it can be captured, or by passing the
printed matter through an autoclave, which is a closed space
held under greatly reduced pressure, which forces toluene to
evaporate from the printed paper. This extra stage gives reusable
toluene and prevents its “disappearance” down the line.
In this way the toluene content of the printed paper meets the
stringent requirements that some (especially the Scandinavian
Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper
Of all the RSG wastes, 98% can be recycled. The waste is
separated and collected by a qualified company specialising
in sustainable waste management. Waste management goes
further than just collecting, processing and/or recycling it. It’s
also about reducing the quantity and cutting the costs of waste.
This is done by better separation and recycling. Re-introducing
waste materials into the production cycle helps counter
resource depletion and cuts CO2 emissions. RSG also collects
hazardous wastes in this same sustainable way, having them
processed to innocuous residues and valuable raw materials,
thus lessening their impact and hazards to mankind and the
2012 saw a further refinement in separated collection, meaning
that more waste is now recorded as recyclable waste, while
the volumes of remaining waste and hazardous waste have
declined. Record keeping concerning recyclable waste has
also improved, so monitoring gives a better view of the results
achieved. Sorting into component streams means that recycling
can serve more purposes.
General process waste 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
Hazardous waste 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
Recyclable waste 2008 – 2012 (kg/ton paper input)
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