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Continuing in our commitment to best practices in our business, Hemlock uses some of the least evaporative blanket wash, fountain solution additives and inks available, and arranges for the treatment and reuse of waste streams with the aim of postponing or avoiding disposal.

Our ongoing research allows us to stay abreast of the latest developments in pollution prevention and waste minimization. Hemlock has taken steps to not only meet, but also exceed Metro Vancouver’s environmental standards.

Plate Technology
As a pioneer in Computer-to-Plate technology, we installed our first CTP device in 1996. Less than two years later, we removed all of our film imaging devices, eliminating our film developing requirements. Outdated film mounts still on file today are disassembled so the mylar can be recycled in our soft plastics program, while film is sent for silver recovery. Today over 99% of our projects use the industry’s most advanced filmless workflow.


Hemlock chooses inks that maximize vegetable oil content while minimizing smog-causing volatile petroleum compounds (also known as VOCs).

Hemlock’s advanced ink measuring and mixing system minimizes the amount of ink waste. Inks are pre-measured for each job and remixed into new colours whenever possible. Hemlock’s standard PMS inks contain a large proportion of vegetable oils, as do spot colours. Depending on the effects desired, vegetable-based inks may not be suitable for every job. If you would like to know more about the relative environmental impacts of a special effect you have in mind, please contact us for an impact estimate.

Fountain Solution
In 1988, Hemlock Printers began to investigate the possibility of eliminating the harmful isopropyl alcohol commonly used in the industry from press damping systems. While it isn’t illegal in Canada or the US to use isopropyl alcohol in fountain solution, it is an extremely flammable and volatile (i.e. evaporable) organic chemical that poses health, safety and environmental risks. After two years of extensive research and testing, we became the first major printer in our market to be completely "alcohol free" with the installation of our reverse osmosis water purification system.

Blanket Wash
In our ongoing efforts to reduce our impact on air quality, Hemlock uses a blanket wash that mixes with water and evaporates so slowly that its volatile emissions are well below the minimum estimates of California’s most stringent smog non-attainment zone calculation guidelines. Our pressroom is low-odour and waste solvent is recaptured for recycling as a clean-burning fuel, displacing fresh petroleum products that would otherwise be used. Hemlock is currently testing solvents that can be reused many times within the print process.