The fact of the matter is that while technologically the die-stamping of engraving is far behind most other forms of printing, in terms of ink and the environment, engraving with 100% water-based inks is far ahead. Ironically, while engraving, one of the oldest graphic reproduction processes available, has been thought of as “dated”, it is actually light years ahead of other printing techniques in the use of environmentally compatible inks.
Most all other forms of printing, with few exceptions, utilize solvent or petroleum-based inks. In the
Solvent-based inks typically contain inherently high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s, which are linked to ozone depletion and air pollution. They also create problems in the de-inking process used to recycle printed paper. Water-based engraving inks are typically low-VOC and are relatively easy to de-ink in the paper recycling process. Additionally, engraved designs don’t usually paint paper with ink, are more subtle, and make more economical use of white space. This minimizing of the amount of ink coverage also makes the de-inking process easier.
Certain types of pigment are also more or less environmentally friendly due to their chemical makeup. Many contain heavy metals, such as barium, lead, cadmium, mercury or chromium, depending on the color. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate heavy metals from pigments that may be inherently necessary for certain colors, there are generally choices that can be made in many situations to avoid heavy metals altogether or in which they can be significantly reduced.
Buzz Sales Company’s products are made with LOW VOC materials and we do not utilize heavy metal pigments for most colors. Where their use is necessary, we opt for versions that are in very low concentrations.
Although there is no one clear-cut solution to the environmental issues raised by the various printing processes, some are clearly more earth-friendly than others. At Buzz Sales Company we look forward to continuing the tradition in the development of products that will promote the increased and expanded use of engraving, a proven environmentally beneficial and responsible process.
Courtesy of Buzz Sales Company