Sign & Digital Graphics

2016 WRAPS

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2 0 1 6 • WRAPS • 25 requires the use of phthalates which do not necessarily make it the most environ- mentally friendly material in the world— mostly because it will not break down in today's landfills and there is no real way of recycling the film after use. And that being said, you should know that there are PVC-free wrap films available on the market. However, when it comes to PSA prod- ucts that you use on a daily basis, it is important to remember that they all have adhesive on them and this is the common misconception—no matter how environ- mentally friendly the film is, the adhesive is still an important issue. There is cur- rently no mechanical process for separat- ing the adhesive from the film post-use, resulting in no way for PSA material to be recycled or to truly degrade in a landfill. Why Seek Alternatives? About now is when you ask, "What are the alternatives?" Before we get there, perhaps another question should be asked: "Why should I be looking at alternative materials?" Regardless if you actually were thinking it or not, I'm still going to tell you. Obviously the main reason is that as reasonable humans, we should all be looking for ways to reduce our footprint and to be more environ- mentally conscious in general. For a more measurable reason, you should consider your client base—are they asking you for a more "green" solu- tion? If so, you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible where alternative materials are concerned. From a manufacturing perspective, we have been seeing the demand for more sustainable products for the last several years from the national retail compa- nies and "big box" stores, but over the last couple years or so we have seen this demand working its way into regional and local retailers as well. What's Driving Demand? The drivers for many of these com- panies are two main regulatory mandates that came about in the last few years. The first is CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), which mainly tar- gets those products sold to children and most of the focus is on children's toys. Obviously, we in the sign industry are not in the business of making toys—but consider graphics, which are sold to be decoration on the walls of a child's bed- room. Again, not a toy, but because this regulation was so wide sweeping that the retailers selling any of these items started asking questions of all of their vendors to ensure no harmful components were used in the manufacture of such items. Naturally this lead into looking at any graphics they used in their stores as well—the proverbial domino effect if you will. The other piece of legislation is what is known as REACH (Regulation, Evalu- ation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), which was developed in Europe but has major implications in the U.S. due to the enormous amount of products that we both import and export to the EU. This regulation is focused on reducing the use of harmful chemicals in the manufacture of consumer prod- ucts, and it is acutely focused on the most Film manufacturers are addressing the issue of how much pollution they are causing in the manufacture of the products they sell. (Image courtesy of Germany's UBA - Federal Environment Agency) Polyurethane film is highly conformable and is commonly used in paint protection film appli- cations. It is available as graphic wrap film as well, but comes at a higher price point. (Image courtesy of Sun Diego Wraps) Another driver is a set of European regula- tions called REACH (Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) which aims to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in the manufacture of consumer products.

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