Printing in Green

PRC Technologies, a division of Print Recovery Concepts, has unveiled the world’s first “green” toner, which the company says is at the center of the “sustainable printing program” it plans to introduce to businesses, schools, colleges, and governmental organizations across the US. Unlike common oil-based toner powder, PRC’s toner is derived from soybeans and this, according to the company, is what can make a major difference in regards to the impact on the environment when one takes into account the amounts of toner used nowadays around the world.
Soy field - green printing on the horizon? 
Soy field – green printing on the horizon?

Experts say about two liters of oil are necessary to produce a single pound of toner powder – the amount required for each oil-based cartridge. 100 million such toner cartridges are used every year by various institutions in the US alone, which directly translates to over 50,000 tons of the petroleum-based substance.

Soy ink in itself isn’t a new concept – in fact, it is today used in over 95 percent of America’s daily newspapers, while about one quarter of commercial printers regularly operate on soy ink. However, it is the first time a technology is introduced, which allows soy-based substance to be used in laser cartridges. PRC says its products, which can be identified by the “SoyPrint” label, are already compatible with the most popular brands of laser printers found on the market. “Now every office employee can help reduce dependence on oil every time they put a toner cartridge in their printer” – said Debe Overhaug, president of PRC.

PRC says it has already completed extensive testing of the SoyPrint laser cartridge, concluding it preserves the level of printing quality of traditional oil-based toners, as well as the number of pages that can be printed using a single cartridge unit. Moreover, the company says its new technology causes no harm to the printer itself and is already available at prices comparable to today’s brand name, oil-based versions. “Buyers can now demand a quality product AND a green product – they can have it both ways. As we developed this soy cartridge, we realized if we looked at the entire printing process, any office can significantly reduce the environmental impact on our planet. This is truly the most environmentally sustainable way to print” – Overhaug said.
 
The company currently manufactures SoyPrint cartridges in the US, fully warranting its products to all customers. However, PRC’s green initiative doesn’t stop at offering eco-friendly toners for sale – the company’s sustainable printing program also encourages offices to use recycled paper and allows customers to send back empty cartridges, which will go into recycling to new plastic products. Furthermore, the company promises to routinely send individual reports to its customers, which it says will “track the impact of sustainable printing” – among other things, these reports are said to include figures such as the total number of SoyPrint toner pounds used, the overall amount of heavy plastic recycled and the exact number of reams of recycled paper consumed.  
 
TFOT has previously covered a number of novel “green” inventions – you are welcome to read our article on a robotic lawnmower, which promises to mow your lawn automatically while consuming minimum energy resources by using solar power, and aigo’s Portable Solar Charger, which promises to charge your camcorder and cell phone using solar power.
 
More information on SoyPrint can be found at the company’s website.