Just because an ink type sounds more environmentally friendly doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Go with inks that are made up of 100 percent solids or have a very high percentage of solids. Inks that are 100 percent solids provide nearly a 100 percent yield, resulting in no or little waste. They can often be recycled or reused. For example, 100-percent-solids plastisol inks do not dry on the screen. The left-over ink on the screen can be re-used at a later date as long as it was not exposed to excessive heat. Water-based inks often contain fewer solids and may dry on the screen, thus yielding less and creating waste. Due to the additional time it takes to cure water-based inks, more energy is used as well.
Inks that are touted or labeled as eco-friendly, low VOC, etc. aren’t necessarily “better” or more “green.” Most contain plastic binders and solvents that are not as “human-friendly” as they are believed to be. In the case of water-based inks, for example, the binder is usually an acrylic or a urethane that is suspended in water and other co-solvents. These solvents often contain formaldehyde and alcohols and are evaporated into the air during the curing process.
—International Coatings Company