Environmental Specialties Inc. Links Environmental Responsibility, Fiscal Soundness
Many in the graphic communications industry still believe that being a good friend to the environment and being financially successful are mutually exclusive. But not Environmental Specialties Inc. (ESI). Since 1985, the Chicago-based supplier of pressroom products has successfully followed a path of environmental stewardship while improving service and retaining competitive pricing.
“With vast changes in environmental and government regulations in the United States and Canada, our industry is best served by environmentally conscious products and corporate social responsibility,” said Mike Miske, president. “As an industrial manufacturer, we recognize protecting the environment as an obligation to future generations.”
ESI’s environmental consciousness permeates company culture, from in-house programs to the product line and suppliers with which it chooses to do business. “Even before volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified as contributors to pollution, the coating and industrial painting industries had begun developing lower VOC-containing products,” continued Miske. “The use of water-soluble, petroleum solvent-free and radiation-cured products became more common.”
VOCs comprise a major group of organic substances that all have one property in common—they evaporate into the atmosphere under ambient temperatures and pressure conditions. In the atmosphere, many VOCs undergo photochemical processes, resulting in the formation of ozone and other oxidants that share the term “photochemical smog.”
VOCs are found in the mixtures of hundreds of thousands of compounds used commercially and in industrial operations. The most familiar of these are gasoline, diesel, turpentine, printing inks and surface coatings. Most VOCs do not contribute directly to global warming, but since VOCs are oxidized to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide absorbs infrared light from the sun, VOCs derived from fossil fuels indirectly contribute to global warming.
“Emissions of VOCs from solvents are definitely a source of pollution in the atmosphere,” Miske stated. “While individually small sources of VOCs, in total they contribute significantly to the overall volume of VOCs and the associated ozone and particulate matter problem. Studies have confirmed that air pollution causes serious health effects and increases the risk of diseases of the heart and lungs.”