Case Study: How Tapecon Assessed and Reduced Chemical Footprint

Posted by Casey Cephas | 12/21/21 12:00 PM

In 2021, through a program called the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) run by Clean Production Action (CPA) and funded by a Source Reduction Assistance Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant, Tapecon assessed the chemical footprint of their industrial cleaning products. Tapecon's printing process requires cleaning products to maintain the printing equipment. These products were analyzed by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Twelve products were submitted and seven chemicals in four of those products were found on either the CFP Chemicals of High Concern (CoHC) Reference List or EU Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) Reference List. With knowledge of these high concern chemicals, Tapecon has switched suppliers and has eliminated Glycol Ether PM from its cleaning processes. Trials are presently being run to eliminate the use of Glycol Ether EM and to replace it with a different chemical that does not have any CoHC. Alternative chemicals are also being sought to replace the use of DriRite 110 and Rubber Rejuvenator.

Objective

Tapecon enrolled in the Clean Production Action's (CPA) Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) and requested assistance from the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to determine their chemical footprint. A chemical footprint, as defined by the CFP, is the total mass of chemicals of high concern used by an event, organization, service, building, or product, screened against the CFP Chemicals of High Concern (CoHC) Reference List or EU Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) Reference List.

The objective of the CFP is to highlight chemicals of high concern and deliver strategic solutions for sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products. Tapecon's participation helps provide effective platforms for scientists and organizations to work together in advancing safer chemicals and healthy materials.

Methods & Results

This project was limited to the industrial cleaning products Tapecon uses in cleaning its printing equipment, which includes presses, ink dispensers, dies, aniloxes, and rollers. This chemical footprint did not include ink and printing chemicals, as these are dictated by customers and vary from product to product.

Tapecon provided twelve industrial cleaning products and their safety data sheets to NYSP2I for the analysis. NYSP2I identified seven chemicals in four products which appeared on either the CoHC or EU SVHC lists. Of special note was Glycol Ether EM which contains 100% 2-methoxyethanol and appears on both the CoHC and EU SVHC lists. Rubber Rejuvenator #184 and DriRite 110 followed, with 15-30% and 12.6-36% of their contents being on the CFP CoHC list. Lastly, Glycol Ether PM solvent contained less than half a percent of a chemical on the CFP CoHC list.

Solutions

In April 2021, NYSP21 presented Tapecon's chemical footprint to the CFP working group. NYSP2I discussed the challenges Tapecon and other manufacturers face compiling and analyzing this information. Tapecon's participation provided invaluable feedback to CPA to assist other contract and smaller manufacturers complete their own footprints.

As a result of this analysis, Tapecon has eliminated the use of the CoHC identified in Glycol Ether PM by switching to a different supplier. Trials to eliminate the use of Glycol Ether EM are being run, with hopes to replace it with a different chemical that does not have any CoHC. Alternative chemicals are also being sought to replace the use of DriRite 110 and Rubber Rejuvenator.

Making great products as sustainable as possible.

With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. As a founding member of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, Tapecon is a manufacturing partner that prioritizes quality and sustainability. Learn more about our contract manufacturing services.

Topics: Manufacturing, Quality

Written by Casey Cephas

Casey is the Marketing Coordinator at Tapecon Inc.

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