Sustainable Printing Inks

  • Tuen-Ching Lai MacEwan University


Printing is important to industries, schools, libraries and homes. Hence, it is important to investigate and develop eco-friendly methods for printing inks. In the food industry, one of the wastes is used frying oil, which can be epoxidized and polymerized to produce binders in printing ink. Another method is to utilize epoxidized soybean oil as a UV-curable acrylate oligomer via cross-linking in order to be repurposed as a binder. Both of these solutions could prevent solvent emissions, reduce pollution or waste, help regulating harmful organic materials and replacing unsustainable petroleum-based printing inks. In terms of chemical synthesis, scholars have suggested that resin precursors for lithographic inks could employ low-molecular soy oil-based rosin esters. Next, the esters are cross-linked through radical polymerization, which is induced by heat along with radical initiators like peroxides. Peroxides allow the ink to dry instantly, which is desired in printing process. Finally, the sustainable inks could be sold to printer companies, newspaper companies, advertising companies and consumers for a cheaper price with lower production costs.


Faculty Mentor: Samuel Mugo

Department: Chemistry