Weedon PSC Ltd, the UK’s leading independent manufacturer of Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and Point of Sale (POS) display units, has become the country’s first manufacturer of corrugated packaging to use predominantly natural printing inks. The company has been awarded exclusive rights to print RRP and POS displays using a new range of environmentally friendly, water-based flexographic and screen printing inks, Earthinks®, which are made from up to 80% natural materials.
Colour and quality are as good with Earthinks® – and in some cases better than synthetic and oil-based inks – and prices are comparable, but these inks significantly reduce the impact on the environment.
Weedon PSC and its sister companies in the Weedon Group, Weedon Corrugated Products and i2i europe, all operate with a strong environmental policy, paying particular attention to issues such as carbon footprint, waste reclamation and land fill. The Group prioritises the use of post-consumer recycled material (PCR), materials made from renewable resources, and recycled, recyclable and compostable materials.
Earthinks® have been developed by Solar Inks from sustainable and non-polluting resources including soy, starch, sugars, dextrin, tree resin, cellulose and other polysaccharides. Natural waxes are used to replace standard petroleum-based synthetics, and natural oils are used to defoam instead of mineral oils. Earthinks® are glycol and silicone-free, contain no heavy metals and have near-zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
Earthinks® give excellent performance. They have a low viscosity and low foaming levels to deliver sharp images with lower dot gain than standard inks. They also offer stability over long runs due to their unique pH-independent technology. In-house colour mixing is also an option for special colour production on demand, and an ink recycling programme saves waste.
While Weedon PSC has exclusivity in corrugated, Earthinks® can be used on other substrates to enable brand owners to carry their environmental credentials across their entire range of packaging.
Weedon PSC will now work with Solar Inks to further develop the inks. Together the two companies have set up an ink laboratory at Weedon’s site in Hednesford, Staffordshire, where they will look at issues including enhancing colour and coverage and usage for different products such as on packaging to be used in wet, cold and dry environments.
John Weedon, Managing Director of Weedon PSC, commented:
“There is increasing concern nowadays about sustainability and the environmental effect of manufacturing processes. Such issues are high priorities within Weedon PSC – and indeed throughout the Weedon Group. We recognise that the way we design and manufacture corrugated packaging and displays can have a significant impact. So everything we make is recyclable and, wherever possible, we try to minimise damage to the environment in our choice of raw materials.
“The use of Earthinks® is the latest step in our drive to use environmentally friendly boards and inks. Traditional water-based inks are based on synthetic oil derived chemicals or polymers and are therefore fossil-based and subject to oil and polymer shortages in the future. Alternative so-called ‘natural’ inks usually only contain up to 5% renewable products. But Earthinks® are made from 80% natural materials. We think our customers will be pleased that they can now have top print quality while minimising the damage to the world we live in.”