The topic of eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives is often brought up due to a shift in businesses to be more aware of their environmental impact.
This is especially true with the recent implementation of the nationwide plastic ban in Canada. In turn, we can expect consumers and businesses to be even more eco-conscious.
However, did you know that you can be green even when it comes to printing options?
Similar to the different types of sustainable packaging, you can choose eco-friendly printing alternatives as well!
In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of the reasons why you may want to change the ink you’re using, and what alternatives are out there for eco-friendly printing ink.
The Breakdown on Printing Ink
Generally speaking, the following components make up what we consider to be printing ink.
- Colourant – a pigment or dye to give the ink its colour
- Additives – to help improve the performance of the ink
- Carriers – to help transfer the ink (this makes up around 80% of the ink)
Traditionally, most inks have carriers that are petroleum-based (also known as solvent-based). This is true because of its low cost and fast drying time.
While this can be great for those on a tight budget, a major drawback of it is that petroleum is a non-renewable resource.
As we know, non-renewable resources create a lot of damage to our environment due to its extracting processes.
Furthermore, when the solvent in the ink dries, it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air which can negatively affect air quality.
Overall, the use of petroleum-based printing ink can create pollution and contribute to global warming – not that great if you’re looking to become more eco-friendly.
Eco-Friendly Printing Ink Options
So, if we shouldn’t use petroleum-based ink, what should we use? Here are the top 3 eco-friendly printing ink alternatives…
Soy-Based Printing Ink
Soy-based ink falls under a wide category of vegetable-based ink which also includes flax, canola, and safflower.
It has an array of benefits that makes it the most popular choice when it comes to eco-friendly printing ink options.
Made from soybeans, it’s known to produce very vivid colours due to its ability to carry solid pigments. This is why newspapers and document printing tend to use this type of ink.
However, what makes soy-based ink really attractive, is that soybeans are a renewable resource and the oils from the plant can be easily extracted.
Additionally, soy-based ink is recyclable and produces little to no VOCs!
While soy ink is generally slower to dry, its sustainable nature makes it a good alternative if you’re looking to switch to an eco-friendlier printing ink option!
Water-Based Printing Ink
With water being another renewable resource, water-based inks are another famous alternative. It’s most popular because it produces a soft-touch feeling.
Additionally, this ink is a good option if you’re looking for something that can spread and provide good coverage. When in use, it seeps into the material rather than sitting on top.
If you’re using this ink on fabrics, it does tend to fade faster but doesn’t produce the harmful chemicals that other inks do.
UV-Based Printing Ink
Ultraviolet (UV) ink is the final eco-friendly printing ink alternative we’ll be discussing. UV ink first comes in a liquid form, but quickly turns solid once cured under a UV light.
One of the main advantages about this ink is that it does not contain any solvents, meaning it does not release harmful VOCs into the air.
Furthermore, because of its curation process, the ink can help your business in saving costs!
If you want an ink that will save you time, money, and the environment, this is a great choice to use!
Working With LeKAC
As you can see, there are a variety of eco-friendly printing ink options you can use to become a more sustainable business.
Whether you decide to use soy, water, or UV-based inks, it is sure to be a good step towards a better environment. Here at LeKAC, we work with various eco-friendly materials and ink! For example, we offer the use of water-based ink for our non-woven reusable bags!
With the help of our exceptional packaging specialists, we can help you choose the best printing ink option specific to your product needs as well!
Interested in finding out more? Contact us today for a free consultation!
In the meantime, check out our previous blog post where we go through the pros and cons of eco-friendly packaging.