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"By the very nature of the manufacturing processes employed, the sign making and screen and digital printing industries are not inherently eco-friendly", so say leading industry supplier William Smith.

"As one of the UK's leading providers of integrated sign and graphics and digital printing solutions, we have introduced a definitive environmental policy that enables us and our customers to greatly enhance the 'green' awareness policies endorsed by government and other legislative bodies."

At William Smith, all materials (predominantly paper, cardboard, aluminium and acrylic) are segmented and recycled. Manufacturers of vinyl materials are constantly striving to develop more environmentally friendly products and we actively engages with any initiative aimed at achieving this objective.

Developments within the range of hardware and materials solutions provided by us reflect these initiatives. Most notable is in the supply of printers that use the latest Latex ink technology as an alternative to the more hazardous solvent-based systems. The Latex system has only a minimal VOC content and therefore no expensive fume extraction equipment is required. It is non-hazardous, odourless and instantly curable and will provide the same three- to five-year outdoor performance as full solvent inks without the attendant dangers to the environment whilst significantly increasing production speed and output.

Latest developments in materials supply that similarly protect and preserve the environment more effectively include two non-PVC vinyl products. The new 3M 3545C is a fine example of an alternative non-PVC solution to traditional solvent-based materials. Due to its special construction, it is far more environmentally friendly but with no compromise on quality and performance standards.

Similar benefits can be found in the alternative RI-JET eco-friendly digital film from RITRAMA that is EU Phthalates Directive 2005/84/EC compliant. It is another example of a material that offers a significantly reduced environmental impact but with no compromise on quality and durability.