Since Zygote Press opened its doors in 1996, the very nature of our operation and philosophy has been based on up-cycling and re-use. Zygote has saved old abandoned presses and equipment from landfills when the computer/technology age replaced so many printmaking departments at local universities. Luckily we came on the scene at the right time where individuals who needed access to make prints naturally merged to this collective space. Old letterpress equipment, lead type, presses, shears, guillotines and other monolithic machinery has been dusted off and given new purpose rejuvenated by the collective energy of Cleveland's creative class.
Zygote has been dedicated to maintaining a safe and healthy print-shop facility for our staff, users, and visitors as well as remaining conscience of our impact on the environment. We dissuade our artist-users from the toxic solvents used in the past like benzene, lacquer thinners, and other processes that heighten the potential of inhalation and ingestion into the air and their bodies. We have diligently used chemicals in less toxic categories like odorless mineral spirits (diluted with oil), acetone, and denatured alcohol. We have purchased water-based relief and screen inks and encouraged clean-up with oils and vinegar versus solvents. This has encouraged our air to be cleaner in the shop and reduced toxic exhaust emissions into the atmosphere. We save our inks for reuse and remixing and have adopted a paper recycle box for continuous use with scratch/proofing cover sheets. We work in a collaborative environment so our recycling bins for plastic and aluminum have become habit-forming for all of our users.