Printing industry and volatile organic compounds

The printing and publication industry plays an important role in our daily life. Examples of products that typically pass through a printer at some point in their lifecycle include product labels, plastic bags, flyers, food wrappers and pop cans.

The printing and publication industry is a source of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in Canada. The main sources of VOCs are the solvents that are contained in inks, cleaning products and fountain solutions.


The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment developed the Environmental code of practice for the reduction of volatile organic compound emissions from the commercial/Industrial Printing Products to provide guidance on ways to reduce VOC emissions released during the printing process. The Code focuses on:

  • reducing VOC emissions from the printing process and clean-up operations
  • handling and storing VOC-containing materials
  • handling and disposing of waste
  • designing and operating performance targets for facilities

In June 2010, we published the Renewal of the Federal Agenda on the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions from Consumer and Commercial Products : a discussion paper for the 2010 to 2020 period. This paper outlined possible initiatives for the Government of Canada to take to reduce VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products. The printing sector was recognized as a potential area for additional VOC emission reductions.

We are currently monitoring actions taken by other jurisdictions and continue to assess opportunities for VOC emission reductions from the printing sector.

Related links

Contact information

Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

1-888-391-3426 (toll free) or 819-938-4483

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