Soy Based Ink

Shelton Turnbull uses a mixture of vegetable based and soy based inks for our printing process.

  • Our soy ink printing process releases less than 5% Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into the air improving the air quality for our staff and the environment.
  • Soy ink is a helpful component in paper recycling because the soy ink can be removed more easily than regular ink from paper during the de-inking process.
  • In addition to a brighter ink, less ink is needed to print the same amount of paper when compared to petroleum inks. Soy ink has been found to spread approximately 15% further, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.

Soy ink printing is nothing new in the printing industry. In the late 1970s, the Newspaper Association of America was looking for different ways to make ink, rather than by using the standard petroleum-based ink. Rising prices for petroleum and quarrels with OPEC countries were reasons they wanted to find a more reliable and cost efficient method of printing.

Soy ink is not suitable for all situations. For example, it cannot be used in ballpoint pens and personal printers. One major problem with soy ink is that it takes more time to dry than petroleum-based inks, due to its lack of evaporative solvents in the form of VOCs.

We do not believe that soy based inks is the last word in the environmental challenge that printers face. There are several factors that make it a “lesser” of two evils.

  • Over-dependency on a single crop introduces the risk of crop disease epidemics, as in the Great Irish Famine.
  • 92% of soybean acreage in the US is planted with genetically-modified, which can pose environmental and human health risks.
  • Soybean production is a major source of deforestation in the Amazon basin in Brazil.

We are constantly working with our vendors and manufacturers to create a greener product. When new, environmentally conscious products come on the market, we take steps to implement them into our production cycle. As more energy and focus is put on the environment, we feel that more of these products will come to market at a price and quality that we have come to expect.

Read more about our Green Solutions.