Soy-Based Toner Prints in Green

November, 2009

The development of soy ink remains one of the original success stories for soy-based products. The United Soybean Board’s (USB) new uses program funds the research and development behind new soy-based products, and contributed to the success of soy ink.

Commercial printers began using soy-based ink more than 20 years ago. Now, thanks, in part, to soybean checkoff funding, personal computer users can print with soy, too.

The product of a 10-plus-year partnership with the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), Battelle Memorial Institute developed an environmentally friendly toner that contains soybean oil and can be used in select home and office printers.

West Point Products recently introduced its line of AgriTone remanufactured replacement laser toner cartridges. AgriTone cartridges print with a toner called BioBlack, made from renewable biobased ingredients, including soybean oil. Testing by Iowa State University, which conducts biocontent analysis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found BioBlack to be 37 percent biobased, highest among all currently available toners.

“We are excited to be able to bring a product like AgriTone to market, which gives end users an opportunity to print in an environmentally friendly way,” said West Point Products CEO Tom Day. “This product has been several years in the making, and the commercial release is something we are very proud of.”

West Point Products’ cartridge manufacturing processes feature additional environmentally friendly processes. The company refills used cartridges and recycles raw materials used in its manufacturing processes. West Point Products says it remanufactures more than 1 million toner cartridges every year, which saves nearly 1 million gallons of oil. Additionally, West Point uses partially recycled materials to package the cartridges and recycles other supply chain elements such as pallets and toner bottles.

The process of bringing Battelle’s innovation to commercial fruition began when Advanced Image Resources, Inc. (AIR) licensed Battelle’s technology and began manufacturing BioRez®, the soy-based resin used to manufacture BioBlack.

“The question that end users should ask of themselves when considering toners made using BioRez is not ‘Why should I use this?’ but ‘Why not?'” says AIR CEO Tom Gandolfi. “Our technology is not only compatible with existing equipment, but is also cost-competitive, features outstanding performance and offers environmental benefits that original equipment manufacturers’ toners simply can’t match.”

To find out how you can buy AgriTone replacement toner cartridges and for a list of compatible printers, visit westpointproducts.com/agritonemain.aspx. For more information about BioRez, the biobased resin used to produce the toner in the AgriTone cartridges, visit air-toner.com.


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