Many of the Bibles sold in Australia – especially those published by the Bible Society – are printed in China by Amity Printing Company which is a joint venture between the United Bible Societies and Amity a Chinese charity founded by Christians. Elaine Ho of the China Bible partnership explains how the printer is seeking to be environmentally responsible.
NANJING, China – The Amity Printing Company (APC) is the world’s largest Bible printing press. No doubt, tonnes of paper are used each year to print Bibles for believers in China and overseas. How has a printing press the scale of APC contributed towards environmental protection and a more sustainable future?
According to APC’s CEO, Mr Luke Liu, the company has adopted several “green” measures in its management and operations that places it as one of the leading examples in energy conservation and emissions reduction in the printing industry in China.
The printing press has implemented the use of sustainable materials and clean energy, placed close attention to energy conservation and reduced emissions in its operations.
Use of sustainable materials
Firstly, APC is growing its usage of paper that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. FSC certified paper is paper that has been harvested in a responsible manner. FSC standards ensure that both the environment and communities were protected during the process.
The FSC certified paper suppliers and manufacturers engaged by APC also ensure that for every tree cut down to produce paper pulp, two new trees will be re-planted at a different location. The printing press seeks out and engages paper suppliers and manufacturers who have obtained the FSC certification.
APC also uses ink from more sustainable sources. Printer ink that is made primarily from soy ingredients, which is highly biodegradable and organic in nature, is favored over traditional printer ink. Through the use of environmentally friendly raw materials, a safer working environment is created for employees.
The printing press has invested a significant amount of funds in installing facilities to reduce emissions and harness clean energy, specifically solar energy. Solar energy is harnessed through solar photovoltaic panels installed on rooftops at the sprawling printing factory in Nanjing City.
More than two million kWh of electricity is produced annually through these solar panels. APC estimated that this is the equivalent of over 600 tonnes of coal that is required to produce the same amount of electricity, thus reducing carbon emissions by more than 1,630 tonnes each year.
On top of these, APC also promotes the use of clean energy through transportation vehicles. Currently, 80% of the forklifts at APC are electric-powered, which are used to move huge rolls of Bible paper and Bibles. Although an electric forklift costs twice as much as a fuel-powered forklift, APC targets to convert all its forklifts to electric ones.
Besides clean energy, the printing press has successfully introduced energy-saving equipment like the HP indigo digital printer in its operations. These printers, among other equipment, not only reduces energy usage and hence emissions, but has also significantly improved production capacity and printing quality.
Recycle and reuse
Since the establishment of the press, it has sold all of its waste paper collected during the printing process, to companies that recycle paper.
Over the years, APC has increasingly been using recycled paper in the printing of Bibles, and they will continue to do so. The company sources its recycled paper from domestic as well from overseas paper suppliers.
In the printing process, waste water and gas are unwanted by-products. To protect the environment, APC treats waste water collected from cleaning the premises and from day-to-day operations and reuses them elsewhere.
Some of the treated water is used to clean the facilities, as well as to water greenery and plants at the printing press. The waste water treatment systems at APC has an annual treatment capacity of up to 36,000 tonnes of waste water.
A waste gas treatment system has also been installed at the printing press, and it is able to remove harmful compounds at a rate of more than 95%.
Waste water and chemicals that are collected from ink residuals, the cleaning of printing equipment and others, is collected, stored and transported to a certified industrial waste-treatment company, where it is treated.
APC and sustainability
Despite the rising costs of printing due to the significant investments required for using clean energy and “green” materials, Mr Luke Liu shared that the company is committed to sustainable development and protecting the environment.
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).