Production cost in the printing industry, as with all industry, inevitably falls during the span of its development because of advances in production efficiency. Sustainability is now known to be the most important part of any product or production process.
Within the printing industry, sustainable printing is of the most important of these processes. Printing production is historically done by using a powerful heating source to bake the ink into the paper. The high levels of heat needed for its production make it quite inefficient and increase the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment. This in turn makes it difficult for some companies to pass EPA standards.
Most printing ink used today is a mixture of either three compounds: petroleum-based, vegetable-based, and soy-based inks. Current regulations state that petroleum based inks must stay below 30 percent release of VOCs, which is the reason for mixing petroleum-based inks with that of vegetable and Soy. Though using 100 percent vegetable or soy-based ink would be much more environmentally friendly, higher heats are needed to dry the ink and the quality of printing is slightly lessened.
Efforts to create competitive vegetable-based ink sources, which carry no VOC release and have a low drying times, are currently being tested. If these ventures are successful, the future of the printing press will take a leap into a greener future.
Interested in switching to environmentally friendly printing? Click Here.