What Is Soy Ink Packaging and Can It Help Preserve the Environment?

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Nowadays, demand for corporate sustainability is on the rise, equally affecting the printing industry. Soy-based ink plays an important role in the sustainability of the press industry and it has been serving as an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based inks for decades.

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Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Packoi Team

Why is soy-based ink less harmful? How is it made? Is it 100% toxin-free? The following is a complete guide to the manufacture of soy ink and why it is a superior alternative to petroleum inks.

What Is Soy Ink Packaging?

Packaging that uses soy ink for printing is called soy ink packaging.

Bbtea, and eco friendly brand using soy ink in their stamp

Now, what is soy ink?

Introduced to the market as a result of the petroleum crisis in the 1970s by a newspaper company, soy ink is now playing an important role in making the press industry environment-friendly. In the manufacturing process, soy oil is substituted for petroleum ink. The soy-based inks are four times more biodegradable than petroleum-based inks.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by petroleum-based inks are less than 20% in soy ink when printing. Additionally, soy-based ink minimizes hazardous air pollution (HAC) emissions. You can lessen the environmental impact of your printing press by replacing petroleum-based traditional inks with soy-based inks.

How Is Soy Ink Made?

If the concentration of soy oil in an ink reaches 20%, soy ink is formed. Soy-based inks produce less harmful organic chemical emissions than petroleum-based inks.

Soy ink is manufactured by processing soybeans into oil. This oil is then cooked, refined, and blended with the resins, pigment, and waxes. Although these main steps are common, the product quantities can vary between different manufacturers.

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6 Major Benefits of Using Soy Ink Packaging

Here are the six main benefits that you get by replacing petroleum-based ink with soy-based ink.

1. Renewable Resource

    Soy-based ink is made from soybeans, a renewable resource since we can grow soybeans indefinitely. Soybeans provide a never-ending supply of plant feedstock, which is then used as fuel, and many other products.

    2. Heat Resistant

    The soy ink on your packaging will have more thermal resistance than petroleum-based ink because soy ink has a lower boiling point. 

    YT-06 Soy Ink Containers

    3. Brighter Colors

    If you print with soy-based ink, the printed picture will have brighter colors and clearer definitions. This is because the lucid nature of soy-based ink allows the ink pigments to be the brightest.

    4. Economical

    The use of soy inks will prove to be economical compared with metallic inks, as it produces clear and bright images effortlessly. Soy inks will get the work done with minimum resources.

    EW Lable tags made with consumer waste and printed with soy ink

    5. Stability

    Using soy-based ink for your printing saves time, as you do not have to adjust the ink every step of the process. This is because soy inks are much more stable than petroleum inks.

    6. Eco-Friendly

    Although soy ink is not 100% eco-friendly (as declared by the Environmental Conservation Board), it is still better than petro-based inks because it releases fewer amounts of VOCs in the air. Moreover, soybean plants absorb carbon from the environment during growth, so shifting to soy ink reduces carbon footprint.


    Can You Place Soy Inks in Direct Contact with Edible Items?

    The answer is no! Although soy inks are environmentally friendly in some ways, they are not 100% free from toxins. Some soy inks include petroleum-based substances to allow the ink to dry faster, thus making it toxic to the human body. However, the printed cards that you find within the cereal boxes are made up of pure soy ink and are FDA-approved. 

    Myths about Soy Ink

    Here are some myths related to soy-based ink, that you might be believing to this date

    A printing press worker cleaning the printer
    1. Soy-Based Ink is Purely Made Up of Soy 

    Soy oil only contributes to the mass of soy ink by 20%. Here, the author refutes a common misconception about how soy ink is made. The other components that contribute to the mass of soy ink are resins, pigments, waxes, solvents, reducers, additives, driers, and film formers, which are toxic substances. 

    1. Soy Ink is 100% Environmentally Friendly

    Soy and vegetable inks are a better and safer alternative to petro-based inks but they are not 100% environmentally friendly because of the presence of some harmful additives. EPA does not label soy inks as “non-VOC.” Also, the equipment used for soybean processing relies on diesel, petroleum, and electricity, thus resulting in environmental pollution. Even if all the components are made organic, like organic resins and waxes, we can only lessen the negative impact it usually has on the environment.

    Why Choose Packoi for Your Packaging Needs?

    Looking for a sustainable packaging manufacturer to match the theme of your product?

    You landed on the right page. At Packoi, we understand the importance of ecosystem perseverance. We use eco-friendly inks for your package printing, having minimal effects on the environment. With our wide range of custom packaging and printing solutions, our team will make your design come to life just as you want it, making your experience with us one to remember.

    We will stand by your side every step of the manufacturing process. Contact us now for an immaculate brand packaging manufacturing experience.

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    Hey there, I’m Shelly!

    I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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