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Where To Find Printer Ink With A Small Carbon Footprint

2011-12-18

Many companies seek to have the lowest environmental footprint possible, meaning that they release as little carbon as possible. These companies not only use sustainable materials in their prints, but also use recycled paper whenever possible. A less common but still significant way to reduce a company's ecological footprint is to change the ingredients used to make printer ink and utilize the environmentally friendly cartridge. While some ingredients come from oil - which is non-renewable - other ingredients come from plants that can always be regrown.

Ink is traditionally oil-based. With oil-based inks, manufacturers can still minimize their ecological footprint by dewatering ink and reusing the residue. The residue can be burned as fuel, used to make gravel for roads or composted.

However, more and more inks are made using soy, which is much more sustainable and does not require processes that are bad for the environment. Soy-based ink is much easier to remove from paper, which makes ink less expensive to recycle. Also, the soy inks degrade more easily than oil-based inks. The ink industry has removed many of the toxic metals found in traditional inks, such as mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, making most inks safer than inks in the past.

Other renewable inks are based on vegetable oils and esthers, alkyd/rosin esters, fatty acid amides, vegetable waxes or bio-ethanol and epoxy soy bean oil. These substances are highly organic and release few or no harmful toxins into the environment.

Businesses can also use ink cartridges more responsibly by using an environmentally friendly cartridge. Millions of printer ink cartridges are thrown away. Not only do these cartridges - made out of industrial plastics - require thousands of years to break down, but they also require gallons of oil to produce. This oil increases the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. Fortunately, businesses can reuse an environmentally friendly cartridge and even receive discounts on the new ones when they recycle.

Businesses must identify which printer ink companies are using inks in the most sustainable manner. Many ink producers are being asked to provide information on the amount of carbon emissions that they produce. However, identifying carbon emissions can be difficult, especially since it requires that printing companies reveal the processes that they use to produce their inks, which reveals trade secrets. Businesses should look on the label and contact the manufacturer to identify if the ink is made in a way that reduces the carbon footprint.

Sustainable practices cut costs and ensure that businesses do not contribute to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Any business that implements sustainable practices can build its reputation for being environmental responsible and increase brand value.

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