Solvent and eco-solvent ink comprise some of the common types of inks for wide-format printers, but there are specific differences between the two.
Some businesses still use solvent ink due to their cost-efficiency, but the benefits of using eco-solvent variants include protecting human health aside from the environment. An eco-solvent printing machine, for instance, may be a better option for those who are more conscious of reducing environmental waste.
Solvent inks are normally oil-based and have been a popular choice due to their resistance to abrasion, fading and water damage. Businesses commonly use them for banner and vinyl printing, as they can last for up to seven years.
However, this type of ink contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) that become pollutants when they come in contact with sunlight. Workplaces that use solvent inks also require proper ventilation due to the health hazards of inhaling the fumes. When choosing a new wide-format printer, it’s probably better to buy one that is suitable for eco-solvent inks.
Not all eco-solvent inks are made equal, so you should ask if the ink is a soy- or vegetable-based variant. This ink variant emits less VOCs that could be as low as 2 per cent, compared to around 25 per cent of emitted VOCs when using petroleum-based inks.
Some brands of eco-solvent inks release no VOCs at all. Still, soy- and vegetable-based inks are easier to remove when de-inking papers for recycling. It may cost your business a bit more by up to 25 per cent when buying eco-solvents, but it could be a small price to pay for reducing air pollutants and protecting the health of your employees.
The type of ink you use for printing purposes has a direct impact on business costs and to the environment as well. It may be wiser to use eco-solvent variants since the extra cost will be a worthwhile investment if it means being an eco-friendly business.