Soy ink. Soy-based inks and toner cartridges

Updated: 2021-06-30

The history of soybean cultivation dates back centuries. Soybeans were used by the Chinese for both medicine and food. They were cultivated by the Koreans, who ate them and allowed them to grow wild. In the 1st century, the Japanese created soy-based cheese tofu, and soy milk. In the year 1765, the beans were introduced to America.

Ford motors and soy-based fabric

Ford Motor Company spent $1.2 million in soybean research in 1933. By 1935, every Ford car contained soy. Ford also created artificial silk and named it Azion. Ford was the first major automobile manufacturer to introduce a soy-based fabric for use in the production of its vehicles.

The company has planned that soy-based materials would serve as a replacement for traditional petroleum-based materials such as polyvinyl chloride and polyester, unfortunately was soon replaced by DuPont’s nylon.

Azion fabric was also used to make suits, coats, and hats shortly in the 1940s.

The United States and soy-based products

To fast-forward to today and we find that soybean is the most widely cultivated legume in the United States. The United States and soybeans have a strong marriage. Soybeans make up about one-fifth of the commercial crop, with the vast majority of soy grown in the Midwest. The US produces more than 75 million tonnes of soybeans every year. And the number of uses for this amazing and edible oil continues to grow each year.

Soy is not just a foodstuff. Soybeans are a popular crop because they provide many of the things Americans need to live and grow. Soybeans provide protein, vitamins, and minerals such as iron and zinc. Soybeans are also a major source of oil, which can be used in a wide variety of ways—in plastics, paints, candles, soaps, cosmetics, and foodstuffs.

Soy-based cosmetics and candles
Soy-based cosmetics and candles. Photo by Sonia Roselli on Unsplash

Soy-based inks

The printer ink market is an ever-changing one. In the past few years, it seemed as though the only ink that was available was petroleum-based. Now, however, several producers have introduced soy-based ink onto the market.

The search for soy ink began in the late 1970s. The Newspaper Association of America (NAA), at the time, was searching for better ways to make ink cartridges than relying on petroleum-based ones. Researchers from the NAA discovered that soybean oil, along with over 2000 other vegetable oil formulas, is the best for ink production. Iowa’s The Gazette first used this printing ink in 1987.

Six years after the Gazette printed its 1987 issue, the National Soy Ink Information Center (NSIC) was established. The Iowa Soybean Association was responsible for promoting more researches on the viability and use of soy inks. To ensure that consumers can identify certified products, it also created the SoySeal label. These printing inks must be manufactured from accredited products.

The Gazette

These inks were used by 95% of daily newspaper companies in 2004. The National Soy Ink Information Center was closed a year later, realizing that scientists had done enough researches for these products. The American Soybean Association now oversees the SoySeal.

This has turned the soy ink market from a niche product to a market with the potential to become a multi-billion dollar industry. The biggest advantage of soy-based ink is its low environmental impact. Soy-based ink is used by some of the lowest-volume printers, but higher-volume printers, such as large-format printers, have embraced soy-based ink too.

Today’s soy-based printer inks and toners

Soy-based inks are slowly making their way into the mainstream. Today’s soy-based inks have a much lower levels of VOC (volatile organic compound) content (and thus a significantly lower environmental impact), are more stable, and much more biodegradable than the traditional inks we use.

Therefore, it is no surprise that soy ink finally has a home in laser toner cartridges. Millions of laser printers consume standard petroleum-based toner at an average of over 50,000 tons per year. Toner addiction leads to 100 million laser cartridges being thrown away each year. This is absurd, especially since there are better options.

Inks made from soybeans: Environmental impacts

Soy ink saved the day. Newspapers across the country have been using soybean ink for many years. This is because it is easier to recycle paper when soy ink is used. Soy toner produces a green effect, printing the same amount of pages as oil-based ink. Also, it is competitively priced, so costs won’t rise when using soy laser toner. Therefore, soy toner is a good choice.

One person once said, “Men who only walk there where they see tracks will never find any treasures.” This is especially true for laserjet printers with oil-based toner cartridges from the original equipment manufacturer.

Soy laser toners help us be more in tune with your environment and save some dollars. Soy toner cartridges reduce our dependence on oil and aid in reducing, reuse, and recycling.

Soybean inks are more environmentally friendly than the petroleum-based inks most people and businesses use, They are available in vivid colors, just like printer inks or toner. They also make it simple to recycle your printed papers. Soy ink is also preferred because it doesn’t dry as quickly as other printer inks on the market.

Production of Soy Inks and Toners

Soybeans are further processed to produce soybean ink oil. People can eat soybean oil, but the soy ink made from it is not. Non-edible additives are blended into vegetable oil making the final product non-edible. This ink is not 100% biodegradable because it bonds with additives. The same compounds can also be found in petroleum-based inks.

How ink is made

The Advantages and Drawbacks of Soy Ink

Many people find soy ink and toner cartridges beneficial. Because the ink can be easily removed from the printout media, it aids paper recycling. In addition, these inks can be removed from the printout media and are not sold on the market.

These printing inks also have a natural, clearer solution, which is another advantage. It is easier to produce brighter colors with this ink. This reduces the need to pigment and makes the cartridges for printer ink cheaper than the other options. In addition, the output is clearer thanks to recent soy ink research.

However, these links have their drawbacks. They are not suitable for all aspects of printing. They are not ideal for personal printers or the production of ballpoint pens. Because it dries slowly, some printing presses may find it difficult to use. It can take magazines a long time to dry the ink on glossy and coated pages. Ink production from one crop can lead to epidemics of crop diseases.

Many people prefer to use such ink over petroleum-based ink, despite the downsides. It eliminates some environmental hazards. The product’s output will be more environmentally friendly if it contains fewer chemicals.