Is Water-Based Ink Environmentally Safe?
When it comes to ink, not everything is equal. As digital printing becomes more commonplace, manufacturers are taking a good look at their ink. What does environmentally safe mean and what options do you have?
A high-profile case occurred in 2005 involving a massive recall of Nestlé baby milk formula in Europe. The brand had to recall 30 million liters of products after trace amounts of ink chemicals were found in the cartons. Nestlé lost an estimated €1. 6 million worth of products.
The industry calls this issue “migration”. When ink from the surface material enters the product contained in a package. This case forced retailers and brands around the world to take a closer look at their own packaging.
Digital ink options?
UV-curable inks are immediately exposed to ultraviolet lights as they are printed. This method ‘dries’ or cures the ink when chemicals react with certain wavelengths of that ultraviolet light. This process makes the ink firm and more resistant to abrasions. Unfortunately, these same chemicals can migrate into the interior of the package and interact with food and beverages.
Water-based ink avoids the use of these UV-reactive chemistries. Ink is still delivered to the top of the material. However, instead of using ultraviolet light to cure the ink, this new digital process uses heat. The result delivers the same durable, vibrant quality.
Why we invested in new technology
Water-based ink stand out as odorless, low VOC and nontoxic. This option opens up huge possibilities for companies who want a more environmentally friendly ink or who worry about ink migrating into their products. Brands that package food, cosmetics, drugs or even children’s products should consider this alternative.
Water-based ink is also much more gentle on the environment because it’s water soluble. That means, when a corrugated box is recycled, unwanted substances aren’t entering our waste and water supply. The ink meets environmental criteria throughout its entire life cycle – from production to disposal.
CompanyBox felt it was important to invest in water-based ink technology and strengthen our commitment to the environment. We are first and foremost a team of mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Therefore, it was imperative to take a closer look at our environmental impact. We wanted to open the door to industries that necessitate safe printing.
“We partnered with HP because of their commitment to sustainable ink innovation.” says CEO Louie DeJesus. “Their water-based ink has earned ECOLOGO certification which perfectly matches our values.” (HP was the first digital printing solution to receive this credential.) In October, 2019 HP committed $200 million over five or more years to develop water-based ink technologies for printing digitally.
This ink also complies with even the most stringent global food safety regulations* making it ideal for food and beverage packaging.
If you’re looking for water-based ink for your packaging, check out our Luxe option. CompanyBox has also taken steps to ensure our raw materials meet high environmental standards. We proudly partner with a local supplier who is FSC certified and a member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.