What Are Vegetable Inks? And Where Are They Used?

What Are Vegetable Inks? And Where Are They Used?

In our last blog, we explored the concept of sustainability and further delved into the world of eco-fashion and organic cotton.

We all know that, with positive changes and awareness about sustainability, more and more brands are adopting new production and manufacturing methods to cater to environmentally conscious consumers.

As brands around the world join hands to provide eco-friendly products to their customers, companies are taking effective steps to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Image courtesy: Thirdman

One such step in the sustainable production process would be printing using vegetable inks.

The use of vegetable inks is part of an environmental strategy and a goal to reduce printing's environmental effect. These inks are referred to as "natural" because, instead of employing mineral-based solutions, they are made from natural vegetable oils, which are less hazardous. Furthermore, they are produced by combining natural organic substances from plants, such as oils and chemical pigments, with solvents that do not include hydrocarbons.

There are numerous vegetable oils used in the production of printing ink, the most recent being linseed oil, soya oil, and sunflower oil.

Inks are widely available and useful for printing on any medium, particularly packaging. However, inks were not always the most environmentally friendly. Petroleum-based inks can include environmentally harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Image courtesy: Antoni Shkraba


Forward-thinking businesses and packaging professionals now use vegetable and soy-based inks, which offer numerous major advantages.

Renewable in nature:

Vegetable inks are produced from vegetable oils. These inks are less likely to release any chemicals into the environment when discarded. Thus, the use of vegetable inks has a lower environmental effect due to the renewable nature of its ingredients.

Additionally, these crops not only benefit after they are grown, but they also help the nitrogen levels in the soil during their cultivation process. Nourishing the farm soil—making it more nutritious and fertile.

Easy to recycle:

Vegetable inks are biodegradable and are easier to de-ink during the recycling process. During the de-inking process, these inks are exceedingly easy to remove.

This means that each item requires less energy to recycle, resulting in reduced environmental effects.

It is cost-effective and releases fewer pollutants.

When petroleum-based inks dry, they can generate up to 40% VOCs. VOCs have the potential to harm both the environment and human health. When compared to vegetable inks, the VOC rates are as low as 4%.

This makes it a far superior product for the planet. Because of its inherent clarity, less ink is required to print, lowering the overall printing cost and making it more cost-effective.

At Roy’s Boys, we currently use vegetable inks to print our care labels and some of our packaging. Our aim is to completely switch to using vegetable inks on all labels and packaging materials by June 2023.

 *Banner image courtesy: Suzy Hazelwood

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