Behind the roar of printing presses can lie more than just rollers and ink. Some in the industry say the chemicals used in the process can be harmful to the planet and can even make workers sick -- but not at Consolidated Printing Company.
"I started looking at the chemicals and I said what can I do here?" recalled Marilyn Jones, owner of Consolidated Printing Company. "The first chemical that I attacked was the greaser that was used to lubricate the rollers and I started using Crisco in place of the heavy duty solvent. Then, I looked at the degreaser and I said why wouldn't vinegar do this?"
Today, all printing is done using vegetable-based products.
"We do not have any toxic chemicals in the shop," Jones explained. "We produce beautiful printing without any toxicity to the workers, to the air, the land or to the water."
Walter Jones oversees the constant hunt for newer, greener equipment. He says there is still work to be done, but the company has already instituted numerous changes -- including recycling paper, ink and metal plates.
"The latest thing that we've done is we're using a Shaklee product that replaces vinyl gloves. They put this on their hands and then when they get the ink on their hands it just comes right off," explained Walter Jones.
Those "invisible gloves" as they're called keep countless vinyl gloves out of landfills. Marilyn Jones says beyond efforts to be environmentally-friendly, being chemical-free for the welfare of workers is what really sets them apart from other companies.
"The perception in printing is that green is FSE certification. It's recycled paper. It's soy ink. And it's not really any of those things," stated Marilyn Jones. "It's about the chemicals and that's the part of this industry that we need to clean up."
Consolidated Printing has done work for presidents, governors and major corporations. In fact, they were tapped to print the official "Obama-Biden" stationery during the presidential campaign.
Consolidated Printing Company
5942 N. Northwest Hwy.
Chicago, IL 60631