Print Green With Soy Ink

By: Wain Roy

The introduction of soy ink around a decade back has brought a welcome change to the printing industry. As opposed to petroleum-based ink, soy ink is produced from soybeans and definitely holds more advantages than the traditional ink used in the printing industry. Soy ink use in the printing industry ensures a safe and environment friendly step towards printing without significant loss of energy. An outcome of the price hike of petroleum in OPEC countries, soy ink proves to be a perfect match for their traditional petroleum ink counterpart. Abundance and low cost are possibly the major reasons for the greater acceptability of soy ink by printing industries across the world.

Soy ink scores over petroleum-based ink on a number of aspects. To begin with, inks made from petroleum or other vegetable oils are not lucid and hence, cannot produce bright color effects. On the other hand, inks made from soybean oil are clear and lend a brighter effect. That's the reason why most of the newspapers use soy inks in comparison to its other counterparts. The pigments and chemicals added to soy ink are similar to that used in petroleum-based ink; hence soy ink cannot be termed as 100% biodegradable.

Soy inks are extremely beneficial during the paper recycling process. Removing soy ink stains from paper is much easier than other artificial inks. Soy inks are easily washable and cause less damage to the paper fibers. As a result, the recycled paper is much brighter and fit for use. Besides, soy ink waste does not pose any threat to the environment and can be easily treated using modern methods.

These advantages of soy ink have made it almost a unanimous choice by the printing industries, especially in the US. In fact, the use of soy ink in the US market has registered a significant leap from less than 5% in 1989 to approximately 23% today. Reports suggest Asia as one of the biggest markets for soy inks, with Japanese printing companies purchasing a major share of the American soy ink. Out of 28 Asian ink manufacturers producing soy ink, 23 are in Japan. With a bright scope for development in the Asian market, experts are hopeful of soy ink capturing a major share of the European print market as well.

Soy inks have come as a blessing to prevent the degradation of the environment. The need to find eco-friendly business solutions has become a necessity on account of the increasing environmental hazards posed by industrial growth all over the world. Use of soy ink or other environmental friendly inks has given way to green printing. In fact, use of eco-friendly printing solutions is welcome news for the environmental activists as well as a good promotional tool for commercial printing companies.

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