Sun Chemical is Independent’s in-house ink company. The volatile organic compound content of the process ink set we use ranges from 10% to 15%. We also produce work using hybrid UV-cured ink. These inks instantly dry (cure) using UV energy. UV inks do not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOC) making them an environmentally-friendly choice.

Energy Consumption

Independent continually works to reduce energy consumption. Some examples are:

  • Building construction methods that provide superior insulating value and reduce energy use.
  • Orion light fixtures that displace 7.2 million kWh over their lifetime (In 2005 Independent received an Environmental Stewardship Award for the installation of these light fixtures.) Utilizing the low temperatures of the cold winter months to obtain free cooling for the manufacturing processes. Heat recovery wheels in our heating and ventilation system, which reduce energy consumption.

Green Energy

Independent has enrolled in a Wisconsin Public Service Renewable Energy Program and natural energy alternative called NatureWise. Members are committed to protecting the environment today while preserving resources for tomorrow. Independent has access to renewable energy sold by Wisconsin Public Service/Integrys. Electricity is generated from renewable sources such as wind turbines and biogas, presently available to Independent. 

Wastewater Testing

Wastewater is tested annually to ensure that all applicable standards are met. Independent has chosen to do this proactively. 

Air Pollution Control Operation Permit

Independent filed for and received an air pollution control operation permit in 2002. Emissions prior to 2002 were tracked, but the permit has helped formalize and expand tracking. We are permitted as a minor source of emissions, which means Independent will emit less than 100 tons of VOC (volatile organic compounds). We actually emit less than one quarter of the limit specified in our permit. We use VOC emission potential as one of the criteria when evaluating chemicals and processes.

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Certification

Independent has been an FSC certified printer since Spring 2006. We demonstrate our commitment to responsible forestry practices by being certified by the Rainforest Alliance to the FSC Standards.

Delivery Fleet

Independent is a member of the EPA SmartWay Partnership. The partnership is founded on the premise that partners are committed to programs and management practices reducing greenhouse gas in freight transportation. Independent works diligently to improve our fleet’s fuel efficiency. We operate Freightliner Sprinter trucks using 5-cylinder diesel engines which average 23 MPG as compared to more traditional gasoline engines at 13 MPG.

Waste Disposal


Results of a laboratory evaluation of Independent’s waste ink indicate that it is a non-hazardous waste and is non-regulated. Although the company could send the waste ink to a land fill, Independent chooses to dispose of it in a more environmentally responsible way by contracting with Badger Disposal to dispose of waste ink. The third Tuesday of every month Badger picks up waste ink, which is stored in 55-gallon drums and empty ink cans. The waste ink is fuel blended. The cans are recycled unless there is too much ink residue. In that case, the ink cans are fuel blended. Ashes from the fuel blending process are used as a component in cement. 

Press Solvents

Independent has installed a solvent recycling system that distills used solvent, purifying it for reuse. This has reduced the amount of virgin solvent we purchase and has also eliminated waste solvent being shipped off-site. The solid ink remnants are shipped off-site through Badger Disposal. This waste is fuel blended. 

Rag Washing

Independent contracts with G&K Services for solvent rag washing. G&K picks up rags on a weekly basis, washes, and returns them. G&K has a wastewater treatment plant that treats the water from washing prior to going into the sewer system. 

Part Washer

Independent contracts with Crystal Kleen to dispose of the solvents from a parts washer. The solvent is picked up every eight weeks and transported in 55-gallon drums. The solvents from the parts washer are recycled after which resulting solids are fuel-blended. 

Silver Residue

Silver residue has virtually been eliminated as we no longer expose and process film. We have eliminated our camera and imagesetter which were the major sources of silver. 

Aluminum & Film

Aluminum plates and exposed film are picked up by National Precious Metals and recycled on a regular basis. During 2011, we recycled over 27.4 tons of aluminum plates. 


Waste paper is recycled through Ecosource, a Georgia Pacific company that uses the paper in the manufacture of a variety of products such as paper toweling and tissue. During 2011 we recycled 2,172 tons of paper. 


All other refuse is disposed of in a proper manner through Waste Management. Both Badger Disposal and Crystal Kleen are licensed environmental management services. 

Packaging and Shipping Materials 

Corrugated Shipping Cartons

Our shipping cartons are purchased from Green Bay Packaging. White logo cartons are 74% Post Consumer Waste Material (PCW) and Kraft cartons are 100% PCW. We recycle all used cartons with Ecosource. 

Chipboard Packing Material

Chipboard is used as a backer on paper scratch pads as well as packing material. Chipboard is made from 100% PCW and is recyclable. 

Kraft Wrap Packing Material

Kraft wrap is used in package wrapping and also as box filler. Kraft wrap is made from 100% PCW and is recyclable. 

Corrugated Shipping Pads

Shipping pads are made from 100% recycled Kraft paper and are recyclable. 

Packaging Peanuts

Packaging peanuts are made out of biodegradable cornstarch. They will dissolve when exposed to water or can be reused. 

Steel Bands

Skids of incoming paper have steel bands securing the paper to the skid. During 2011, we recycled 2,658 pounds of steel bands through a recycling firm. Outgoing paper skid shipments use steel bands that are made from 25% recycled steel. 

Corner Protectors

Skids of outgoing paper are protected on all four corners with Kraft corner protectors made from 100% PCW. Corner protectors can either be reused or recycled. 

Wood Shipping Skids

Incoming wood skids are either reused or recycled by Ecosource.