ONALASKA, Wis. - Empire Screen Printing celebrated the company's participation in Wisconsin's Green Tier program at their facility today as part of its biennial sales meeting.
Green Tier unites sustainability-minded organizations with DNR and recognizes companies like Empire Screen Printing, who seek to grow their business while improving the health of the environment. In
exchange for a commitment to superior environmental performance, DNR grants benefits to Tier 1
participants, including public recognition of participation, a single point of contact at DNR and the use of the Green Tier logo in marketing materials.
"We are pleased to have Empire Screen Printing participating in Green Tier," said
Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "With innovative ideas and a strong dedication to sharing knowledge and successes, Empire is a great fit in the Green Tier family."
The company, located in Onalaska, is a leader in the printing industry providing screen, flexographic, doming and digital printing services. The company is also a leader in sharing new technology successes so others in the industry can combine efforts to significantly benefit the environment. Their two-day national sales meeting is a testament to this endeavor - clients, vendors, suppliers and even competitors were invited to attend the informative gathering.
Empire Screen drove the development of ultra-violet light-emitting diode (UV LED) ink curing
technology for the screen printing manufacturing process. This new technology is significantly more economical and environmentally sustainable than the current industry standard using solvent based ink. Solvent inks are 60 percent solid and 40 percent vapor, have high volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and require extensive ventilation systems to operate.
In the late 1990s, Empire made the transition from solvent to UV inks, which has low VOCs and is 100 percent solid, making it much less hazardous than its predecessor.
In 2008, Empire married UV and LED technologies together and harnessed the energy-efficiency and environmental properties of each. This UV LED curing technology produces no ozone emissions, reduces energy consumption and eliminates the need for high-energy mercury vapor bulbs.
Today, Empire runs 95 percent of its screen printing operations using UV inks, of that 50 percent uses energy-efficient UV LED ink curing technology.
Other organizations applaud Empire Screen Printing's endeavors with UV LED technology as well. This year the company has received several awards, including: the Sustainability Award for superior sustainability practices from the Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association (SGIA); a 2016 Earth Day Award from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council; 2016 Business Friend of the Environment Award from the WMC Foundation; and the Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award for the Large Company category.
"The best part is that Empire created a process that preservers the environment and does not cost our customers more," said John Freismuth, Empire Screen Printing president.
Empire Screen Printing employs more than 275 people and has 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 140 acres near the Mississippi River. They say their location serves as a reminder of their
responsibility to protect natural resources for future generations.
As a Green Tier participant, Empire will continue to pursue innovative technology improvements and make further progress with these initiatives:
Once accepted into Green Tier, a company designs and implements an Environmental Management System (EMS) to guide the progress of current environmental initiatives and identify future sustainability efforts. The EMS 'Plan, Do, Check, Act' model is a cornerstone of Green Tier.
To learn more about Green Tier and Empire Screen Printing's sustainability efforts, please visit the Green Tier. pages of the DNR website or visit www.empirescreen.com.