Law Requires State Printers to Use Soy-based Ink

by Lamar James
Extension Communications Specialist

An Arkansas law passed in the early l990s is boosting the use of soy-based ink and is helping the soybean industry remain strong.

The law requires state printers and printers who print under state contracts to use the ink when feasible.

Soy-based ink bene fits the environment, printers and farmers.

Besides the economic benefit to agriculture, there are beneflts to the environment and benefits to the printers, according to Dr. Lanny Ashlock, soybean agronomist for the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas.

"It's a very environmentally friendly product and a good quality product," he said. "Printers were reluctant at first to use it, but after they used it for a while, they liked it."

Trent Roberts, executive director of the Southwest Soybean Council in Little Rock, said printers like the fact that soy-based ink gives them brighter colors than petroleumbased ink.

"Another advantage is that it will give printers better mileage. In other words, it goes further than petroleum-based inks. This can mean lower costs."

Roberts said soy-based ink helps reduce volatile organic compounds in print shops. Every petroleum-based product gives off fumes when it evaporates.

"Soy-based ink helps printers meet the clean air mandates set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. It also makes it easier to recycle paper. Soybased ink is removed more effectively in the recycling process, which helps reduce recycling costs. Also, the waste isn't considered hazardous."

Roberts said soy-based ink is used at nearly 3,000 newspapers across the country. Many major papers that use color use soyink he added.

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