Printech Archives, October 1997: Re: Promote Vegetable Based Inks as P2

Re: Promote Vegetable Based Inks as P2

Debra Kramer (
Tue, 14 Oct 1997 08:22:47 -0500

The following is my response to the Colorade P2 question about vegetable
based inks.

When you say 50%, does that mean that the requirement would be that 50%
of all inks consumed should be vegetable based, or are you saying that
the ink should be formulated with 50% vegetable oil? If it is the
latter of the two, that is impossible to request of a printer. If you
are saying that 50% of the entire annual consumption should be vegetable
based, I would make this a recommendation, not a requirement. Not every
offset lithographic printer, based on the nature of their business, can
use vegetable based inks.

Please keep in mind vegetable based inks can only be used in offset
lithographic printing. They are not used in gravure, flexographic or
screenprinting. Also keep in mind all vegetable based inks still
contain a portion of petroleum products. There is not such thing as
100% vegetable based ink because of the drying properties achieved from
the petroleum portion.

There is indications that vegetable based inks do in fact contain and
emit less VOC than petroleum based inks. There are studies showing
varying estimations how much less. Although most air regulations do not
have specific exemptions for printers who use vegetable based inks their
use is encouraged world wide. 20

Another advantage of vegetable based inks is the fact that they are made
from a renewable resource. While traditional offset lithographic inks
were made from 100% petroleum base, vegetable based inks replace a
percentage (depending on ink application) of the petroleum products.
Vegetable based inks produce richer, brighter colors and now are
comparable in price.

So, to answer your original question, yes I would encourage you to
continue to promote the use of vegetable based inks. You should
consider clarifying the 50% as a recommendation, not a requirement (if
applicable). Additionally, educate staff on the fact that not all
printers can used these products for one reason or another. This does
not mean that they are an uncooperative player.

If you would like more P2 information on printing I'd be happy to help
and thank you for accessing the PNEAC web site.




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