With the increasingly stringent environmental requirements, the green printing consumables market is rapidly accelerating its development. According to the latest report “the future of bio-based inks and coatings by 2026” released by Smithers, Smithers has determined that the CAGR of this category is 7.90%, and the predicted value by 2026 will reach the US $8.57 billion.
With the replacement of printed matter by electronic communication, the market of traditional printed matter such as publishing continues to decline. The losses here will be offset by the growth of packaging and the reconstitution of ink and paint.
There are still many challenges to be solved before bio-based inks and coatings come out of their embryonic stage and enter the mainstream adoption stage, just as they have achieved in today’s declining publishing market. One challenge is the availability of bio-based raw materials. The most widely used is solvent. However, as the certification program encourages the increase of the percentage of bio-based content, and some products claim that the percentage is more than 80%, solvents alone are not enough to meet the standard, especially those products that need to be updated and promote the continuous improvement of manufacturers.
Development trend of bio-based inks and coatings
In order to meet the growing environmental demand, the types of non-petroleum solvents that can be used in printing inks are also increasing. This includes soybeans, palm, sunflower seeds, rapeseed, vegetable oil, or ethanol. For resins, bio-based options include environmentally friendly acrylic resins, polyurethane, and polyamide. The palette of bio-based pigments features dark pigments derived from algae or wood instead of carbon black. In order to match the performance parameters (such as quality and operability) of existing petroleum-derived solutions, each source material presents its own technical challenges. In order to meet this demand, R & D activities are increasing, and ink suppliers have adjusted their product portfolio according to the printing environment reconfigured by covid-19.
Efforts to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have continued in every major region of the world, and legislative actions have been taken to reduce VOC and greenhouse gas emissions. The evolving new ink composition and sustainable regulatory environment include the EU’s strategy to make all chemicals sustainable through design. This also involves the adaptability of procurement, because the interrupted supply chain must fundamentally adapt to the economy in the post covid era.
As a long-term promoter of the sustainable development initiative, Europe reaffirmed its commitment in December 2020. At that time, the leaders of EU Member States adopted the commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, while continuing the greater commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 agreed in the United Nations Paris Agreement in 2015.
In 2015, China took the lead in carrying out the first major reform of environmental protection policies. As the largest market for printing ink, coating and packaging, in many aspects, this is the key driving force for enterprises to pay more attention to sustainable development. The Asia Pacific region is the largest packaging manufacturer and will be a leader in the use of bio-based inks and coatings. With the development of water-based and bio-based technologies, China will become the focus to meet the regulatory restrictions on volatile organic compounds and carbon emissions.
With the new government rejoining the Paris climate agreement, the United States also reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable development in January 2021.
Packaging is still the largest market application – Bio-based flexible ink using innovative green materials, such as nitrocellulose, has been on the market. With the expansion of enterprise sustainability goals and government regulations to minimize the impact of multiple business processes on carbon, parallel opportunities for publications and graphic work are also increasing.