Sign & Digital Graphics

2016 WRAPS

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26 • WRAPS • 2 0 1 6 BUSINESS & SALES harmful chemicals such as cadmium, chromates and lead. Although we are not bound by this regulation yet, I would say we all have our heads in the sand if we don't expect it to occur here as well. The way this regulation affects your business could come via different sce- narios; the first is that your customer has global locations and they have an initiative to be compliant in all coun- tries because it is the right thing to do as a company, so they may come to you and ask for a graphics program that is REACH-compliant, in other words using materials and substrates that are REACH- compliant. The other scenario could be that you are selling graphics on a global scale, whether it is an online business or you are producing graphic packages for a multi-national company—either way, you would need to ensure you are using compliant materials in your production. And on a larger environmental regu- latory front, some wrap film manufactur- ers are lining up in support of the new greenhouse gas emission standards that came out of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris last year. The effects of that historic agree- ment on our industry will unfold over the next few years. ter commonly used in plastic bottles for drinking water, sports drinks, con- diments, etc. This product is extremely versatile and in the graphics world is produced in rolled form, then is coated with adhesive to give it the ability to be produced as a poster or wall wrap. This product has been used in the signage and graphics industry for years. The main drawback to this product is that it cannot be conformed at all and is only meant for flat applications. Again, because it is the most recyclable avail- able to us, chances are the roll you would purchase was a plastic bottle in a former life, thus reducing the overall use of PET. The next popular alternative we see in our industry is Polypropylene (PP) film. Its "greenness" is mostly due to its recycling properties—it is very similar to PET in this way. Again, you see this product on a daily basis as well if you have a bottle of pain reliever in your medicine cabinet. The tops of the bottles are almost always made from PP. This is a much more dense, durable and chemically-resistant product which make it an excellent solution for labeling or OEM graphics. However, also similar to PET, this type of Some wrap film manufacturers are lining up in support of the new greenhouse gas emission standards that came out of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris last year. (Image courtesy of Orafol) What Are Some Alternatives? Funny you should ask! Before we start, I want to make sure it is understood that I am mostly referring to adhesive- backed products here, and I also want to re-iterate what I mentioned earlier about adhesive-backed products when it comes to recycling and the inability to remove the adhesive, thus rendering them non- recyclable no matter what the top film is made of. So, with that being said, the "alterna- tive" products are more green due to a couple of things; the first being they start off as recyclable materials in their natural state, i.e., they may have been manufac- tured using recycled materials (before they became wrap films). The next condition would be the lack of harmful chemicals in these materials, such as lead, chromates or plasticizers. These are more than enough reasons for a company with green initiatives to decrease their footprint to look to alter- native materials for their graphic needs. Now let's look at those other options. Probably the most recyclable mate- rial we see on a daily basis is Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET, a type of polyes- Whether it is a vehicle wrap or long-term out- door graphic, urethane offers a demonstrative advantage over other films.

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