Pollution-Eating Billboard

Lithographix

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

Lithoxgreen is a new patent-pending process, which cleans the air by advertising outdoors. Large commercial printing company, Lithographix, created the brand to get rid of the many pollutants that reside in Los Angeles. This is done via an automated printing process that puts a special coating on top of billboards. Once a Lithoxgreen billboard is outdoors and interacts with the sun, it can get rid of harmful pollutants. Over time, Lithographix hopes that these billboards will be used everywhere, making the city of Los Angeles more safe, sustainable, and green.

Authors

Tess Listick

Tess Listick

Mariya Gordon

Mariya Gordon

School

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University

Professor

Trevor Zink

Trevor Zink

Innovation

In 1972, three chemists (Amy Linsebigler, Guangquan Lu and John T. Yates) experimented with a new process of photocatalytic splitting of water on titanium dioxide electrodes. The result was an unprecedented innovation that the chemists felt could cause a truly positive environmental impact. This material could, upon interacting with sunlight, get rid of pollutants from the air.

It is this exact invention that fell in the lap of Lithographix, a large commercial printing company that also happens to care deeply about minimizing their environmental footprint. After reading about the material in a review article published in 1995, the Lithographix team started to brainstorm ways this material could have a more permanent resting place to create a more lasting effect. Using their in-house machinery, Lithographix created a patent-pending process that embeds this pollutant-eating material into billboards. When the UV light hits the billboard, the chemicals in the billboard absorb the light which creates hydroxyl radicals that destroy the pollutants and smog in the air.

Not only does this innovation combat the harmful contaminants that lead to climate change, but it also creates new hope for the city of Los Angeles to have clean air, making the city and settlements safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Pollution-Eating Billboard

Inspiration

Based in the Los Angeles area themselves, it didn’t take the Lithographix team long to realize that the smog in LA that they all had become so accustomed to was a serious issue worth tackling. There also happened to be hundreds of billboards that Lithographix regularly printed on, just taking up space around the city. The question became, could a business in an industry where environmental initiatives aren’t usually a primary focus, develop a selling product that could also combat climate change to help make the city of LA sustainable?

No stranger to tackling other issues that involve bettering the environment, Lithographix always believed that finding new and innovative ways to keep the Earth green should be a core focus for the company. In large, bold print on the Lithographix website reads a statement: We are committed to protecting our planet’s natural resources to ensure their health and abundance, now and into the future. The company stays “green” by recycling all of its paper waste and only use plant-based inks and coatings. It was only fitting to add billboards that can rid the air of pollutants. Without any experience creating products incorporating this innovative smog-eating material, Lithographix was able to put many heads together to come up with a printing process that could make this dream become a reality. The brand for the billboard, Lithoxgreen, was born!

Mark, the vice president of marketing at Lithographix, shared that the inspiration for this patented process was twofold. Like any business, the goal has always been to increase business. It was when the company was considering how to increase volume in their outdoor grand printing division, that the team became aware of the smog-eating material. Merging the goals of keeping the city they live in livable while having a way to increase profit, was only natural. Mark is very proud that each Lithoxgreen billboard sold will decrease pollution and be benefiting for both society and the environment.

Overall impact

Although still in the early stages of sales and marketing, Lithographix has celebrated its first sale of a Lithoxgreen billboard to a large makeup company. The second the billboard was up, the cleaning of the pollutants immediately took effect and will take one full year to get rid of pollution from 13 cars. The evidence to support this impact comes from the research conducted by the chemists mentioned above (Amy Linsebigler, Guangquan Lu and John T. Yates). The long-term effects that Lithographix strives for include getting as many of these billboards up as possible, as there is only a small premium included for clients to purchase them.

The current business goal is to bring in more incremental sales to the company by increasing profit revenue and profitability. Lithographix is now focusing on engaging with and marketing to a wider clientele who also strongly believe in bettering the environment. Besides getting rid of pollutants, it would benefit society immensely if enough Lithographix billboards were created that consumers demanded this become the new standard for the printing industry.

Lithographix imagines a world where Lithoxgreen billboards dominate the city, creating a powerful web of energy that will exponentially rid the air of pollutants. This scalability will be possible if consumers see the benefit and create a movement that will get clients to recognize the true benefit and beauty of having their advertisements go green.

Business benefit

The innovation of a billboard that “eats” pollutants creates revenue for the company by increasing the volume in their outdoor grand format printing division. Lithoxgreen can also help clients see Lithographix as an environmentally conscious company that cares about sustainability. Not only can Lithographix enjoy the extra revenue, but they can feel good knowing that it came from doing something honorable. This is a boost to morale which can also benefit the company, as this can lead to greater productivity and happiness in the workplace.

Social and environmental benefit

We may live under different roofs, drive different roads, and make turns at different corners, but we all breathe the same air. If more people purchased these billboards, eventually they would displace the wasteful ones. With the Sustainable Development goal of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable in mind, multiple Lithoxgreen billboards could help make Los Angeles a safer and more healthy city to live in by taking these harmful pollutants out of the air for good!

Interviews

Mark Nuremberg, Tess Listick

Mark Nuremberg, Mariya Gordon

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Lithographix

Lithographix

Hawthorne, CA, US

Business Website: https://www.lithographix.com/

Year Founded: 1977

Number of Employees: 201 to 500

Lithographix is a large, privately-owned commercial printing company that serves clients in the entertainment, auto, and retail industries. Lithographix offers printing services as well as graphic design services.