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Flexo Sustainable : Spring 2012
The Culture of Sustainable Inks Environmental Impact of Inks and Printing By: James Ford Packaging materials may be recyclable or composta- ble, but the consumer is initially attracted to the prod- uct by the vibrant colored inks printed on the box, bag, carton or label. Wouldn't the consumer want to know that the inks on the package were formulated with the same concern for safety and the environment? Do you know the sustainabil- ity of the ink being used on your carefully thought-out pack- age? There are a multitude of options in the formulation and sustainability efforts in the manufacturing of packaging inks. Water-based inks offer eco-friendliness to customers. This guide will illustrate those issues, and provide a localized print- ing expertise to the package printer. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The flexographic ink industry has evolved throughout the years and now offers a wide variety of options. The industry has long abandoned the use of heavy metals, and many ink suppliers have even eliminated the use of barium. Further- more, significant efforts have been made in reducing the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) found in today's printing inks, and there is currently a strong impetus to switch from solvent-based inks to either water-based or radiation curable inks; such as UV or EB flexographic inks. Presently, there is no regulatory or industry consensus definition for "sustainable ink." One method currently used to categorize the sustain- ability of inks is by the use of The National Association of Printing Ink Manufactur- ers' (NAPIM) BRC (Bio- Renewable Content) index. NAPIM has established a system by which inks can be categorized according to their level of BRC. Pack- ages printed using certified 8 Sustainable FLEXO SPRING 2012 www.flexomag.com
Year End 2011