Transforming S.Africa’s printing industry - CNBC Africa

Transforming S.Africa’s printing industry

Southern Africa

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Paarl Media's biomass boiler generates steam for use in the publication gravure printing process. PHOTOS: Paarl Media

“The Paarl Media Group is consistently looking at the impact printing processes have on the environment and take into account energy costs,” Christoff Botha, executive director of heatset at the printing group, Paarl Media, told cnbcafrica.com.

The group, which services the country through its 12 specialised printing operations, said it has invested more than 100 million rand in environmentally responsible practices to reduce, re-use and recycle.

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One such significant investment was made in a biomass boiler, a system powered by sustainable biomass which burns at intense temperatures to generate the steam required to power the publication gravure printing process at the company’s flagship plant, Paarl Media Cape.  

“The carbon footprint in mining coal to produce electricity is quite large, whereas the biomass boiler allows the group the opportunity to reduce such a footprint. Naturally the benefit of generating steam with the boiler comes at a lower cost,” explained Botha.

The biomass boiler generates steam for use in the publication gravure printing process by burning wood chips produced from alien vegetation that are overcrowding indigenous plants and are high consumers of water such as the Port Jackson and Black Wattle.

While the initial costs of a biomass boiler is slightly more than an electric boiler due to storage and feedstock expenses, over time the production costs will be significantly less than that of the electric boiler.

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Due to the project’s zero carbon footprint, Paarl Media was nominated at the 2014 Eco-Logic Awards under the energy saving category.

The group is also the first African printing organisation which received the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification.

“We are constantly evaluating new technology with a strong focus on environmental concerns. Further eco-projects already in place include Regenerative Thermal Oxidisers (RTO) implemented on all web presses at Paarl Media Cape, Paarl Media Paarl and Paarl Media Gauteng. RTOs destroy harmful air pollutants and odorous emissions that are often discharged from industrial or manufacturing processes,” added Botha.

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