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SPILLING THE BEANS ABOUT SOY INK

This spring, travelers through the United States will look at fields of soybeans and see nothing but an expanse of green. But U.S. soybean producers also see red, blue and yellow. That's because there's ink in those fields, or at least soybean oil, the key ingredient in environmentally friendlier soy ink.

Soy ink was initially developed for newspaper ink formulations in 1985 by the Newspaper Association of America. Today, 90-95 percent of U.S. newspapers use soy ink for their color reproduction, and nearly on-third of all U.S. newspapers are using soy ink (primarily color). The Los Angeles Times is using all soy ink, both black and color. the Times uses six 5,000-gallon tankers of ink a week, or the oil from 1,000 bushels of soybeans a day! USA Today is another user, with 23 of its 37 print sites using soy ink.

After ink manufacturers discovered the benefits of using soybean oil as a pigment vehicle, they quickly began using it for their sheet-fed, heat-set and business forms inks. Already, one-fourth of the 50,000-plus commercial printers in the United States are using soy ink on a regular basis.

Nationally recognized corporations like the Chicago Board of Trade, ICE Seeds, Wal-Mart, The Boeing Company, SC Johnson Wax and Hallmark Cards are likewise requesting soy ink for their printed materials.

As switch to soy ink from petroleum-based ink is part of Ford Motor Company's drive to benefit the environment and American farmers. William Clay Ford Jr.said, "My great grandfather Henry Ford experimented with potential uses of soybeans throughout his lifetime. Today, many years later, we have found still another use for soybeans, proving his vision is still valid."

Soy ink has become known for its quality of color, increased mileage, and improved overall printability. As the demand has increased, so has the supply. There are about 100 different U.S. ink manufacturing companies today producing at least one soy ink product, usually at prices competitive with petroleum-based inks.

Without a doubt, soy ink has enabled printers and print buyers to join the"Green Movement." With negligible or low emissions of pollution-causing vapors know as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), soy ink helps U.S. printers comply with the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act, which restricts VOC emissions in cities already suffering from air quality problems. Soy ink also de-inks faster and easier from recyclable paper, according to researchers at Western Michigan University. That not only speeds up the recycling process, but it contributes to a better quality recycled paper as well.

Besides its recycling and emissions reduction advantages, soy ink also supports American agriculture. The use of soy ink draws upon America's abundant supplies of soybean oil, a renewable-resource. The American Soybean Association estimates 44 million pounds of soybean oil are currently used in ink production. That's the oil extracted from four million bushels of U.S. soybeans.

So, whether the goal is to save tree, clean the air, reduce our dependence on petroleum, or use renewable resources, soy ink can help accomplish these objectives. It's a unique product that's good for printers, good for the environment, and good for American farmers.

Written by: Iowa Soybean Association, Mr. Patterson, 1025 Ashworth Rd. #310, USA-W. Des Moines IA 50265, Tel. +1-515-223-1423, Fax: +1-515-223-4331


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