Shane Bertsch, VP of strategic planning & innovation for INX International Ink Co., shares his thoughts on sustainable inks.
Consumers are driving packaging to becoming more sustainable, what role do inks play in this transition?
As consumers embrace a more circular economy approach to packaging, ink and coatings play an essential role supporting the reduction, reuse and recycling of packaging. Ink products can be designed for the optimal circular economy options, whether it’s for a specific recycling process, composting process or reusable system. And ink products can also be designed and formulated to utilize sustainably sourced renewable ingredients.
When it comes to sustainable inks, what options are available?
It is important to design the ink product for its intended circular economy destination while also maintaining product performance throughout its lifecycle. INX International provides a range of products including our Genesis washable inks, which are designed to enable recycling and improve the value of plastics during the process. Our INXhrc and Belle Flora natural-based inks are both formulated with sustainably sourced renewable raw materials.
Are there any special considerations that need to be made for “greener” surface materials?
Yes, it is important to understand the print process, the press and the substrate for all applications. Specifically, printing inks must be designed for both the product lifecycle and for the material’s surface properties so as to deliver the desired adhesion and durability.
Are there any special considerations that need to be made for the printers applying sustainable inks to these materials?
In many cases we have observed improved, on-press performance characteristics which may include increased mileage and easier cleanup.
What new technologies or developments in inks and printing, if any, do you see playing an active part in sustainability moving forward?
We believe that the circular economy will continue to be a business imperative for our customers and brand owners. As a result, we see a continuation in increasing the renewable content of ink and a furthering of options for improved recyclability for all substrates. We also see an expansion of communication options which include systems for track and trace, authentication and machine readable recognition to increase material recovery efficiencies within the recycling