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Turning CMYK into Green

Touting your shop's shrinking environmental footprint makes good business sense.

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By Peggy Middendorf

Last year, for instance, EFI Inkware introduced its aforementioned BioWare-solvent inks produced from corn, a renewable resource. The inks use ethyl lactate as a solvent instead of the heavily regulated petroleum-based chemicals typically used in solvent inks. While still producing VOCs, the BioWare ink solvent is 100% biodegradable and is not listed as an air pollutant or as carcinogenic, reports Inkware.

BioWare solvent inks were developed in conjunction with the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DFE) Initiative. This initiative asks its partner companies to reduce pollution through the development of products that decrease the release of toxic chemicals. If your shop adopts the BioWare inks-available currently with selected Vutek printers and later this year with Mutoh printers-this DFE partnership could go a long way toward providing proof of environmental stewardship to companies with mandates to decrease their environmental footprint.

Other inks are also moving toward more environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients, while still offering the print quality that shops need at production speeds. Examples include:

* Nazdar has produced inks from corn-based, bio-renewable solvents for many years, says Richard Bowles. Its Lyson 372 series is one example of solvent inks developed using corn-based products.

* Jetrion offers HAPs-Free (Hazardous Air Pollutant) solvent ink, an ink formulation that produces less VOCs. The company reports these inks are completely free of chemicals commonly used in solvent inks.

* Agfa’s 4th generation solvent inks for its Grand Sherpa Universal AM printer do not contain high VHR (vapor hazard ratio) solvents such as cyclohexanone or repro-toxic solvents such as NMP.

* Oce’s Eco-solvent inks for use with its CS9000 series printers can be used in a regular office or print-shop environment without the need for an air-purification system.

*Eco-Sol Max inks from Roland, Mutoh’s Eco-Ultra inks, and Mimaki’s two eco-friendly inks (SS2 and ES3 inks) require no special ventilation.