Our staff is often asked about the right way to dispose of printing blankets or the chemicals contained in them. EU Regulation 1907/2006 (REACH) states that chemicals exceeding a certain residual concentration in the product must be registered. The "REACH registration" of the European Union does not apply to printing blankets or coating plates! See official statements by blanket and plate manufacturers in the download area.
Unused printing blankets have no harmful effect on health, air or water. They can be disposed of as household waste in accordance with the specifications of the safety data sheet. The latest safety data sheets for the individual blanket types are available in the download area.
The situation is more difficult in the case of used and dirty printing blankets. Various guidelines apply: they determine up to which concentration of contaminants the blankets may still be disposed of as household waste, and when they must be considered hazardous waste. We recommend asking your local waste disposal authority or your private waste disposal company for advice.
Rubber is currently not recyclable in the strict sense of the word; the vulcanization process is irreversible and the material cannot be melted like thermoplastic plastics. Used tires may be shredded into granulate that is then used in road construction, for instance. In most cases, however, rubber is burned and used as a source of energy. In the case of printing blankets, the integrated fabric is the main problem: it cannot be separated from the rest of the blanket, is not resistant to rotting and therefore contaminates the rubber granulate.