Flexible Packaging recently caught up with Jim Cirigliano, Magnum Inks & Coatings marketing manager, to get his thoughts on sustainability when it comes to inks.
Q: There seems to be a lot of debate about how to define “sustainability” when it comes to products and equipment. With that being said, just what do you think makes an ink “sustainable?”
A: In our view, a sustainable ink is one with minimal environmental impact, even as the scale of production increases. Products that create environmental hazards down the line are inherently unsustainable, because sooner or later the hidden costs of these materials will begin to bear themselves out. These costs become more and more apparent as the products become more popular and widespread, and their negative impacts are more easily seen and felt.
By contrast, a sustainable ink can be produced in large quantities to meet growing demand without straining the environment or creating health hazards in the workplace or at large.
Q: Talk a bit about the future of inks as they pertain to sustainability compared to where they are now. What types of things can be done to improve in this arena?
A: We’re seeing increasing regulatory pressures on solvent-based inks, leading us to feel confident in our decision to focus on water-based ink technologies that have negligible VOCs. As we learn more about the toxicity of organic solvents in the environment and in the workplace, we expect regulations controlling the use and disposal of these materials to become stricter over time, and we expect customers to continue looking for “greener” alternatives.
Q: In general, are you hearing from customers that they want more environmentally sound options when it comes to ink? Please explain.
A: We are absolutely hearing more from customers about their requirements for environmentally sound products. Many potential customers ask us about our company’s “green” credential and relevant certifications before they will even entertain the possibility of making a purchase from us.
Q: Can you describe Magnum’s most sustainable ink(s)?
A: As a product family, our water-based inks all share sustainable features including containing very low VOCs, making them safe to handle in the workplace and having limited impact on the environment.
Q: When it comes to ink development, is it possible to be both innovative and sustainable?
A: Not only is it possible, but in some cases finding a more sustainable alternative to an existing product requires you to be innovative. At the end of 2015, we were challenged to come up with an alternative chemistry for a widely used grease-resistant coating that had historically contained compounds called perfluorocarbons, which were banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after the first of the year. Magnum Inks & Coatings was able to innovate with an entirely new, sustainable grease-resistant alternative that matches or exceeds the properties of the product it was designed to replace while being perfluorocarbon-free.
Magnum Inks & Coatings