The sustainability of ink on paper is of concern to the printing industry to ensure that it presents no environmental or circular economy risks. It is for this reason that WAN-IFRA and CITEO have co-published this Special Report on Mineral Oil Free (MOF) inks that answers these concerns for a sustainable circular economy.

This is not a new subject – WAN-IFRA published two Special Reports in 1991 and 1995* largely driven from America. In the late 1980s US news publishers started looking for MO substitutes for news inks; at the same time the American Soybean Association were looking for new markets. This coincided with soy-based news inks becoming the answer to two national issues: the serious health concerns over Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons (MOH), and the 1990 Clean Air Act to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). By 1995, over 90% of US news inks had converted to soya in spite of much higher prices. The drivers in Europe were weaker at the time — news inks were not subject to compulsory identification as dangerous substances; and the US Method 24 to measure VOCs was not used in Europe. This reduced the justification for their higher price. Vegetable oil based Coldset inks were available in Europe from the mid 1990s, but their commercialisation was discontinued around 2010. The environmental and technical parameters have now changed. This comprehensive new report provides a fuller understanding of the economic, environmental and technical issues and their implications.

Germany and France represent about 35% of Coldset newsprint consumption in Western Europe (EMGE 2022) and, consequently, they have a major influence in the sector. They have each taken different routes to implement MOF inks. France have taken a regulatory route (EC rules permit national laws for health and environmental issues), while in Germany, AGRAPA has initiated a voluntary agreement to progressively switch to MOF newspaper inks by 2028.

The quality and value of this report is the result of the proactive international cross-industry co-operation between the printers and their ink suppliers and the organisations concerned. This Special Report is, therefore, timely for the European printing industry. It provides them with a clear overview, technical evaluations, and implications to change to MOF inks.




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