How a Printing Company Ditched Harmful Chemicals

In the printing press biz, a parts washer is a necessity.  But with the side effects of using the machine listing cases of “coma” and “sudden death,” one might dump the chemical solvents and find a safer way to degrease. 

Consolidated Printing Company ditched the hazardous chemicals in turn for safer alternatives. 

“It’s not just about paper and ink.  It’s about what’s behind that curtain and that’s the toxic chemicals that are used to produce print,” owner Marilyn Jones, said. 

When Jones began the company in 1973 out of the basement of her Chicago home, not many safe, eco-friendly alternatives were available.  After working with a vitamin manufacturer who revealed the differences between natural healing and chemical drug healing, she was swayed to begin practicing a healthier way of life. 

“It changed the way I thought about life.  I looked hard at the chemicals I was using,” Jones said. 
Whenever alternatives were not found, she made her own inks, toners, solvents, and more with household products such as Crisco and fabric softeners. 

“You have to realize what you’re doing.  What you’re doing toyourself, what you’re doing to consumers, and what you’re doing to the environment,” Jones said.

And the venture has paid off.  Their efforts to reduce the toxic chemicals used in printing combined with their impressive final products has landed them prestigious business deals and won them both local and national awards.

From Mayor Emanuel’s inaugural material to invitations and welcome bags for NATO, Consolidated Printing delivers a product that raises the bar for all printing companies. 
“We do high profile, high quality, highly time sensitive material, and we do it all natural,” Jones said. 

Partnering with the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition back in 2007, Consolidated traded its services for the restaurants leftover grease, supplementing it into the parts washer. 

“So instead of side effects being ‘coma’ or ‘sudden death,’ the only side effect you have is a sudden craving for French fries,” Jones said. 

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