Eco-Friendly Products

MAP Ultra Low Voc Paint Products

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) is emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOC’s include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. This environmentally friendly, high-performance polyurethane paint limits VOC to less than 50 g/L while providing greater durability, gloss retention and hiding that standard acrylic polyurethane paints. The standard for any product claiming to have low VOC’s should have a count of less than 150 g/L. MAP Ultra Low Voc paints are well under those limits.

3M Envision Wrap Films

GSC has been using 3M’s Envision Wrap Films and Over laminates on all of their vehicle wraps and graphics since its inception in 2012. These films contain no PVC, are Phthalate-free, are made in part with bio-based materials, are manufactured using 58% less solvent, and are made without chlorine or other halogens added.

Halogens, like fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine, have traditionally been used as the foundation of plastics. For example, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) films are typically very stable, durable and long lasting. These are all highly desirable attributes for long-term graphic materials. As a point of reference, halogens are also found in flame retardants, like PBDE.

The issue with halogenated plastics occurs during disposal. If the material is incinerated, the halogen is freed from the plastic structure. During the incineration process, halogens, which are highly reactive, react with any available water (a byproduct of incineration) to form very strong acids, like HCl and HF. To prevent these byproducts from going into the atmosphere, the incineration stack must have special scrubbers that limit halogen release and also require certain chemicals to neutralize the material. These chemicals then become hazardous waste. Adding to the issues, the incineration of halogenated materials can be costly.

Trade-offs between a more environmentally friendly product and performance are becoming a thing of the past for 3M graphics customers. The new 3M™ Envision™ Print Wrap Film 480Cv3 and 3M™ Envision™ Gloss Wrap Over laminate 8548G were designed to exclude certain chemicals of concern, without sacrificing high performance. In fact, these new products, which are non-PVC and do not contain any added chlorine or other halogens, exceed most current high performance characteristics.

So, just what does "no added chlorine or other halogens" really mean? It means that 3M has found a way to develop these products without intentionally adding certain chemicals of concern to them. It is important to understand, though, that trace amounts of certain chemicals may be found in the raw materials we use in amounts so miniscule they do not affect the safe use or disposal. Advances in analytical testing have enabled 3M to test materials at the part per million (ppm) and trillion (ppt) level. Testing at this level discovers trace amounts of chemicals that were never intentionally added to the product.

You'll be glad to know that 3M's Envision Wrap Films are phthalate-free. Dialkyl ortho-phthalates, or just phthalates for short, are a family of chemicals traditionally used in the PVC industry as plasticizers to make films more flexible. This family of chemicals--especially DBP, BBP, DEHP, DINP, DNOP, and DIDP--is becoming more regulated globally due to potential health concerns associated with them. Although 3M graphic materials are intended for commercial and industrial markets, it is interesting to note that in the US, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulates these phthalates in children's products. In the EU (European Union), several phthalates are listed as REACH Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).

3M again stresses that as with all chemicals, analytical testing may be able to show that trace amounts of phthalates are present. Any incidental, trace phthalates in the Envision Wrap Films would be below 100ppm. This is significantly lower than the regulated threshold of 0.1% or 1000ppm for these chemicals per CPSIA and REACH SVHCs.

Cast vinyl gets its name from the manufacturing process used to make these films. This process uses solvents, some of which are known to have environmental and health concerns. The new Envision Wrap Films are a high-performance non-PVC polymer, not a cast vinyl. During the 3M manufacturing process, they use 60% less solvent making film 480Cv3 and over laminate 8548G when compared to the same amount of film IJ180Cv3* and over laminate 8518* produced in the US. By decreasing their solvent usage, they are reducing the exposure to these chemicals by the workers at their manufacturing facility.

Many chemicals, including plastics, are primarily made from carbon. Although carbon is a very abundant element, graphic films are traditionally based on carbon from fossil fuels, like petroleum. By switching to using bio-based materials, the carbon is from a renewable resource rather than petroleum. Using ASTM D6866, you can date the carbon to determine what percentage of the material is bio-based versus petroleum-based. Both the Envision Wrap Films 480Cv3 and over laminate 8548G, without the product liner, contain 10% or greater bio-based materials by weight, another step forward on 3M’s product sustainability journey.

LED Lighting Technology

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States. Residential LEDs use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources, including lower energy consumption, longer life-span, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. LEDs also emit very little heat compared to incandescent and CFL lighting.

GSC now uses LED lighting in all of our newly constructed sign cabinets, channel letters, and Electronic Message Centers. We also offer retrofit packages where we will upgrade all of your current old fluorescent, neon, and metal halide bulb lighting to energy efficient, low maintenance LED lighting. We offer more than just sign packages. We can upgrade all of your parking lot / street lights, spot lighting, security lighting, as well as, indoor overhead office and work shop lighting.

Recycling Old Ballasts

Non-Ferrous Materials

These materials are segregated by chemistry, baled and shipped to the various non-ferrous end users in the Eastern U.S.

Non-ferrous materials are predominantly stored inside buildings. All materials that are processed outdoors and materials in the Ferrous Yard are sorted and stored on concrete pads and/or in concrete lined bins. This allows for easier cleaning of storage areas and prevents materials from impacting the soil.

A large sweat furnace is used to dispose of the aluminum. The aluminum for the furnace is categorized as to its chemistry, melted and then analyzed on a spectrometer prior to shipment. The furnace is operated in compliance with state and federal requirements.

Special Handling of Scrap

Some scrap is required to be separated and oily fluids collected from scrap materials. The company we use ensures that the collected fluids are disposed of in accordance with state and federal regulations. This system greatly reduces the potential for environmental impacts from our operations.

Radiation Control

Bicron detectors are used at the scales to eliminate any trace of radioactive material. These detectors are used on entry and exit of the facility to ensure any radioactive materials are disposed of properly.

Recycling Regulations & Resources

Fluorescent lamps, high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, mercury devices, and batteries contain toxic heavy metals including mercury. Most of these wastes are regulated by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a universal waste. In addition to federal regulations, many states and local municipalities abide by even stricter regulations, and many wastes are banned by companies operating landfills. Federal regulations also require businesses to properly dispose of spent tritium exit signs and smoke detectors due to mildly radioactive components that are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

GSC’s Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste Materials

Disposal of Paints

GSC makes certain to dispose of all of their unused paints and chemical additives through proper recycling processes at our expense. All hazardous waste whether ECO friendly or not, are collected in properly labeled and sealed drums and transported to a chemical disposal facility where it is properly disposed of.

Disposal of Ballasts, Neon, Fluorescent Lamps, Metal Halides, other Electrical

Cardboard, Paper, Plastic, Metal Recycling

GSC recycles all discarded cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum and steel through our local Decatur County Solid Waste Management District to try and help reduce the amount of materials that enter into our landfills.