Rag Recycling for our Small Independent Print ShopFor the past two years, Printmakers Open Forum LLC (PMOF) has been testing and refining a rag recycling system. We are now using a system that is effective and inexpensive, uses readily available off-the-shelf materials, and is environmentally sound. PMOF is a small independent print shop located in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Like many small independent shops, we’ve struggled with how to dispose of the oily rag waste we generate. We know to take the necessary precautions and store these used rags in the metal waste bins made for this purpose but we are left with not knowing what should then be done. These rags are hazards on many levels. When accumulated, potential problems include spontaneous combustion, unhealthy air levels in the shop, and oils, inks and solvents entering the waste stream.
Four people worked together to develop and refine this system: Shelley Thorstensen, Dr. Stefan Bossmann, Katharina Janik Bossmann, and Dale Baggerley. Katharina attended Shelley’s workshop in July 2014 at PMOF. Luckily she had her husband Stefan with her as he is professor and research chemist at Kansas State University (KSU). When we discussed with Stefan “the rag waste problem”, he told us there was an easy answer that would just need some time and testing. As a result, the system was developed through testing and continued discussion via emails and texts. The results were presented at the October 2016 Midwest Regional Conference of the American Chemical Society in Manhattan, Kansas. The description of the rag recycling system was part of the panel “Art in Chemistry” presided by Jason Scuilla, Associate Professor and Area Coordinator, Printmaking and Drawing at KSU.
Top: Dale Baggerley, Shelley Thorstensen Bottom: Stefan Bossmann, Katharina Janik Bossmann
Shelley Thorstensen: BFA Syracuse University, Experimental Studios/Printmaking; MFA, Tyler School of Art/Temple University, Printmaking; Director, Printmakers Open Forum LLC.
Dale Baggerley: BA University of Wisconsin/Eau Claire, Art and Biology. Certification St Catherine’s University Special Education. Built the physical structure of Printmakers Open Forum LLC.
Stefan Bossmann: PhD University of Saarland, Germany, Chemistry; Postdoctoral Research at Columbia University (Laboratories of Nicholas J. Turro); Professor of Chemistry at Kansas State University.
Katharina Janik Bossmann: BSci Judson University, CIS; BFA Judson University, Voice; MFA, University of Freiburg, Germany, Voice; BFA Kansas State University, Printmaking; Research Associate, Kansas State University
Printmakers Open Forum LLC: Printmakers Open Forum, the Home for Wayward Print Girls and Boys, is a working studio utilizing all printmaking techniques: Serigraphy, Intaglio, Lithography and Relief. We believe in artistic transcendence, technical proficiency and an innovative future. We are grateful to those who came before us, to those who spent their lives immersed in and entranced by the noble endeavor.
Our Rag Recycling System