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Contact: Renee Bashel, DNR environmental assistance coordinator or 608-266-6977

DNR Fosters Strong Partnership With Printing Industry

Printing equipment at Empire Screen Printing Printing equipment at Empire Screen Printing, a Green Tier printer based in Onalaska, WI Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Green Tier program continues to foster a strong partnership between the DNR and the printing industry by cutting regulatory red tape, yielding more efficient and sustainable printing operations. The change was implemented in late September 2020.

The Wisconsin Printing Industry Superior Environmental Performance Charter, a Green Tier initiative, was formed in September 2015 and focuses on regulatory streamlining initiatives, education on compliance and sustainability strategies and promotion of new technologies and processes.

The DNR and the printing industry provide incentives to interested businesses, resulting in cost-savings and lower environmental impacts, all while still delivering high-quality print products to customers. This collaboration is evident in the revised lithographic printing rule issued in 2019.

After multiple attempts to find a workable approach to streamline a set of air pollution control regulations for lithographic printing processes, revisions were made to clarify and simplify the Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) rules. Those rules, required by the federal Clean Air Act, limit organic compound emissions from lithographic printing facilities located in certain geographic areas.

Prior to this change, there were two different lithographic printing RACT rules from 1995 and 2009. Some lithographic printing facilities were subject to both rules and complying with both was difficult and sometimes impossible. With this new approach, no printer is subject to both rules. 

“We commend the DNR’s effort to make regulations for lithographic printers much easier to meet," said Gary Jones, director of Environmental, Health and Safety Affairs at the Printing United Alliance. "The DNR addressed an unfortunate duplicative situation of overlapping and conflicting requirements when it was required to issue EPA-mandated regulations. Through the tireless work of the Green Tier charter, partners identified this as a top priority issue, and the DNR dedicated the resources to making sure the regulations were revised. The printing industry appreciates the time and effort that went into simplifying the regulations."

After the rule change effort, the DNR began the process of updating the Type C Registration Operation Permit (ROP) for printing facilities. ROPs are permits available to low-emitting facilities and coverage can be quickly issued to any facility that is eligible.

The revision of the Type C ROP reflects the streamlined RACT rules along with clarifying changes that make the permit easier to understand. The revised Type C ROP was issued on Sept. 21, 2020 and is posted on the Registration Permit webpage along with a new application form and supporting documentation to help applicants with obtaining coverage.   

The DNR and Green Tier-affiliated printing associations also partnered on a series of webinars designed to boost regulatory compliance and the adoption of sustainable practices that reduce operating costs and environmental impacts. The webinars are available to Wisconsin printers as well as printers nationwide, Green Tier participants and any industries reached by DNR’s Small Business Advisor newsletter.

The DNR’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program created a one-stop printer portal with information tailored for printers about air pollution, waste and water quality program requirements and links to beyond-compliance resources.

The DNR encourages Wisconsin printers to look at both Green Tier and Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, which support printers in reaching their sustainability goals, reducing their operational costs and verifying their environmental performance for supply chains and customers. Other industry groups may find a Green Tier charter leads the way to a sustainable partnership with the DNR. Contact Green Tier staff to learn more.