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BIODEGRADABLE INKS

V. Ryan 2008 - 2017

 

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Inks have three basic components, varnish, oil and pigment. The pigment provides the actual colour, the oil allows smooth application of the colour and the varnish gives the final glossy finish. The varnish also protects the pigment from being rubbed away too easily or becoming cracked and damaged.

The oil is usually mineral based and the pigments can contain heavy metals. This means that when card or paper rots and degrades in the soil the oil and pigments are left to pollute the environment.

 
   

Modern biodegradable inks are based on vegetable oils such as Soya oil, sunseed oil or rapeseed oil. These are naturally biodegradable.

Modern biodegradable pigments are based on yellow, red and blue primary colours. Flexographic inks are water rather than oil based and include a biodegradable polymer called polyhy-droxyalkanoate (PHA).

   

Advantages of biodegradable inks are:
1. They are less likely to smudge.
2. They do not contain any toxic elements.
3. They do not smell as they are not mineral based.
4. They are completely safe and consequently do not require any safety labelling.
5. Less ink is required as they flow and spread more efficiently than conventional inks.
6. More vivid / stronger colours can be produced.

Disadvantages of biodegradable inks are:

1. They are more expensive than mineral /oil based inks.
2. They tend to bleed especially during the recycling process. this means the recycling process is more expensive and takes longer.

 
   

Many modern CD ROM cases and DVD cases are manufactured with the environment in mind. Recycled materials are used where possible and other materials are purchased through sustainable suppliers. This also applies to products such as greetings cards.

Research the following inks:

Thermochromic Inks

Hydrochromic Inks

Photochromic Inks

 

     
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