Green Spotlight on...Digital Hub Printing Chicago

Prior to starting my company Ecominders, I had no idea how toxic and environmentally un-friendly the printing industry is. The experience of finding out just how bad regular inks, pressroom chemistry and printing machines can be, not only for our environment, but for those people working at printing facilities, was an eye-opening one. One that I can add to my list of "Ah-ha" moments I have had on my road to becoming a more educated and eco-conscious individual...and one that I can help inform others about. 

When I learned about all of toxic and planet-harming components of the printing industry I obviously set out to find the most eco-friendly printer out there for my business, and I was lucky enough to find one right in my backyard! Digital Hub Printing Chicago is a company that strives to be the most eco-friendly printer in the country, constantly improving on their printing processes, printing machines, company procedures and recycling habits to be the best they can in their industry. 

Here is a list of the ways in which the printing industry can reek havoc on the planet and what Digital Hub has done to greatly lessen their impact...

1. Conventional inks contain harmful VOC's or Volatile Organic Compounds, which are odorless and colorless gases that can contribute to global warming and the production of ozone. These gases can also be harmful to pressroom workers.


All three presses print using vegetable printing inks that contain 0.05% V.O.C.'s opposed to 1.55 V.O.C.'s from soy based inks. The Man Roland (one of their press machines) uses vegetable inks 90% of the time - the other 10% of the time the Man Roland prints using UV inks which contain zero V.O.C.'s. Digital Hub has reduced their total Pressroom VOCs by 8541.1 lbs. which is 94.78% in the past couple of years.

2. Many inks are water-based and a good amount of printing machines use a water-mixing (or fountain) process to print, and this water/ink mixture then needs to be disposed of. Problem here is that often times this toxic ink/water mixture is not disposed of properly, and can end up in our water supply.


The Heidelberg GTO DI Waterless Press (one of Digital Hub's main presses) does not use fountain solution. Waterless printing conserves water and eliminates the need to dispose of used fountain solutions. Digital Hub's other presses that do use fountain solutions are comprised of sustainable inks and all disposal is done with the utmost care and regard for the environment. 

3. In an attempt to appear to be an eco-friendly printer, many printing companies these days use soy inks, or say materials are printed with soy inks. For one, this doesn't necessarily mean that all soy inks were used, it can be as little as 1% soy ink. People also assume that soy inks are better for the environment, but they are still petroleum-based and contain higher levels of VOCs than vegetable-based inks. 


All three of their presses print using vegetable printing inks that contain 0.05% V.O.C.'s opposed to 1.55 V.O.C.'s from soy based inks. Vegetable-based inks are derived from renewable resources and contain less than 1% of petroleum. Soy printing inks can contain up to 35% petroleum Digital Hub also uses UV inks and coatings that contain 0 (Zero) V.O.C.'s.

4. Many printing companies claim to be eco-friendly, stating that they use "green inks" or printing methods, when in actuality that is not the case. Some printing companies do not have the capabilities to do all jobs in-house and end up farming out their work to printers who are not eco-conscious. 


Digital Hub does all of their work in-house, adhering to the most eco-conscious standards. They encourage clients to take tours of their facility, learn about their presses and all of the steps they take to be the greenest printer around. 

These are just some of the ways that Digital Hub stands apart from other printers and adheres to the highest standard of eco-printing. They also do wonderful things to help our community, from collecting food for The Greater Chicago Food Depository to offering vinyl banner recycling. If you have used vinyl bring it by Digital Hub anytime and they will offer it for reuse or recycling. They work with a wonderful company called Defy Bags that makes awesome backpacks and other items out of used vinyl. It is very helpful to our environment if vinyl is recycled or reused as opposed to being thrown away, as vinyl (or PVC) emits toxic compounds such as dioxin and leaches phthalates, which can end up in our food and water supply when dumped in a landfill. Vinyl also emits dioxin when it is burned, thus it is not good for it to end up in a landfill that incinerates its garbage. 

I have included a slideshow below of Digital Hub, which highlights some examples of their work as well as their commitment to helping Chicago and the environment. You will also see some of the many awards and accolades Digital Hub has won for their eco-commitment and the high quality printing they are known for. You can learn more about Digital Hub at their website or on their Facebook page, where they go into more detail of the other ways they go green and what awards they have won over the years.

What you won't see in the slideshow is how great Digital Hub is to work with, which I can attest to after being a client of theirs for three years. They have gone above and beyond for me over the years, and their staff is both professional and extremely kind. They treat their customers more like good friends, which makes working with them a great pleasure! 

You can also nominate Digital Hub Chicago for Green America's People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year, which I think they are incredibly deserved of, here





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  • its always good to be green, I do what I can when I can to help save the planet

  • Well there is no doubt in saying that this industry if not ensured environment friendly measure can cause havoc to environment.
    Most of the sticker printing industries are taking these measures to ensure that environment is not polluted.
    Really nice to know digital hub is taking these measure.

  • Printing industry is producing many chemical intensives which are adversely affecting the life of animal and humans as well.Some of the sticker printing industries are taking these preventive measures to remove these toxic chemicals.These may be causing hazardous if not handled properly.

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    The writer understand better the mind of people what they want to learn through their writing therefore this article is outstanding. Thanks!!!

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