Green Lancaster header displaying a picture of an Amish buggy, and corn field, horses in a field, cows being milked, and windmills.

Educate >Sustainable Printing > Glossary Terms

Below are a list of terms I collected during this project

ASA: American Soybean Association is an organization that represents soy farmers. ASA awards the soy seal, which is given to ink products that contain the minimum percentage of soy content or higher required by the ASA. The soy seal is licensed for the ink manufacturer to display on its products.

Carbon Neutral: The paper-making process that uses wind power to generate energy. This process uses the lowest amount of emissions possible.

Coated Paper: Paper with a glossy finish, often used for promotional items such as booklets or pamphlets.

Digital Printing: Used for bulk printing materials (typically less than 2,500 pieces). Digital printing is a shorter run process than offset printing. Digital printing allows the manufacturer to stop the press faster and gives the printer the ability to quickly adjust the printing product. The manufacturer is able to see the proof of what the image will look like before anything is printed, allowing the manufacture to produce an accurate product without creating excess waste.

ECF: Elemental chlorine free, the virgin or recycled fibers may have been bleached with chlorine compounds, but the chlorine element was not used.

Fibers: Once a recycled paper source is ground into a pulp, it is ground into small fibers which will then be bleached, made into thick sheets, and dried in order to make paper.

FSC: Forest Stewardship Council is an organization that is concerned with forest conservation and the most efficient use of resources. The FSC certifies paper products that meet their standards on sustainable paper-making practices.

Offset Printing: The offset printing process uses plates to transfer ink to paper for mass production. For optimal printing products, the process needs to reach a point called density, when the color and images of the product have reached their peak.The products created when the process reaches density are the products that will be used. The printer is unable to stop offset printing instantly, which often results in wasted materials.

PCF: Process chlorine free, paper was made using fibers from post-consumer waste, but no chlorine was used to bleach the fibers during the recycling process. Some virgin fibers may have also been included.

Post-consumer content: The product uses recycled material that was collected after a previous product had been recycled. Often a percentage is included that represents the number of times that the materials have been pulped and made into fibers to create another product.

Recycled paper percentages: The number of times that fibers have been pulped and made into other fibers to create another product. Paper typically comes in 10, 20, 30, 50, 80, and 100 percent recycled.

SFI: Sustainable Forest Initiative, an organization that is concerned with efficient use of the earth's resources. The SFI also certifies and approves participating companies and their paper-making practices. The SFI logo is used on products stating that the fiber used meets SFI standards.

TCF: Totally Chlorine Free paper is produced from virgin fibers and has not been bleached. If the fibers have been bleached, they were not bleached with a chlorine ingredient. Recycled paper cannot be TFC because you often cannot trace the recycled content.

Uncoated Paper: Standard printing paper without any finish or gloss

Vegetable-Oil Based Inks: Inks that use vegetable ingredients (as opposed to petroleum ingredients) which produce less VOCs during the printing process, releasing less toxins into the environment.

Virgin Fibers: Fibers from an original source

VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds, pollutant emissions released during the offset printing process


This site was created by Erin Clifford( who is a student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Last updated on February 10, 2008

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