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Printing companies

Sector's classified installations

Classification section: 2450
Standard order: 2450.
Correspondence with the former nomenclature: 238 – 395

Classified Installations Legislation references


Context, issues and problems

France is the fourth European power in the graphics sector with a 2004 turnover of 7.35 billion Euro, behind the United Kingdom (21 billion Euro), Germany (16.5 billion Euro) and Italy (11.8 billion Euro). There are approximately 120,000 graphics companies in the twenty five Member States, employing 940,000 people and with a turnover estimated at 82 billion Euro. 85% of these companies employ less than 20 people.

The printing sector includes a vast number of medium-sized companies, approximately 570 companies employing 20 to 49 people and making up 30% of the sector’s turnover. However, most of the production is carried out by SMIs employing over 50 people and large companies. In 2003, the French printing sector represented 874 facilities employing over 20 people for a total of 56,950 jobs.

Ongoing actions in the sector

This important sector is currently dealing with significant environmental challenges and must take into account the impact of its activity on the environment, as it uses products in its production processes (solvents, developers, inks, plastic films, metal plates) posing risks of soil, water and air pollution. This sector is faced with three main problems:

  • Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • Management of Toxic Waste in Dispersed Quantity (DTQD)
  • Organisation of hazardous material storage.

The use of chemicals results in the production of hazardous waste and printers must pay close attention to the treatment of their waste and discharge. They must also adapt to the use of ecological products such as recycled or chlorine-free paper, vegetable-based inks etc.

In order to allow companies to adopt a disposal process complying with the legislation (from collection to final disposal), Trade Associations have joined forces with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Chambers of Trades, in certain regions, to provide printers with a common “Imprim’Vert” system. The objective of this operation is to raise the awareness of printing companies, encourage them to improve the management of their hazardous waste and help them implement this new management system.

The printers who commit by signing the “Imprim’Vert” charter must comply with three criteria:

  • dispose of hazardous waste in a compliant manner: plate and film fixatives and developers, cleaning solvents, used damping solutions, ink boxes, toner cartridges
  • special storage of hazardous liquids
  • replace known toxic products by less hazardous products.

Printers must demonstrate that their waste has been disposed of in a compliant manner via industrial waste disposal receipts or invoices.

Diagram presenting the standard process for making a leaflet

Useful sites