Green Printing

Printing With Low-VOC Inks

Sounds great, but what does it mean?

It's fun to brag about all the stuff we're doing around Hotcards to reduce our environmental footprint. Less fun is trying to figure out the meaning behind all the jargon.

For example, we're always telling customers about how we print with low-VOC inks. Low-VOC inks are vegetable or soy-based, as opposed to oil/petroleum based. Already that's sounding pretty 'green,' but personally, I wanted some details.

This is what I found out:

VOC stands for 'Volatile Organic Compound.' Volatile organic compounds are chemical compounds that naturally possess enough vapor pressure to evaporate under normal conditions. You can often smell this kind of thing happening with paints, household cleaners, and gasoline. They're constantly evaporating, and as they do, they release stinky fumes into the air.

Methane is also a VOC – one of the biggest, in fact. As it evaporates, the fumes created cause air pollution, smog and contribute significantly to global warming.

But the trouble with VOCs doesn't stop with the environment. Volatile organic compounds are also a major source of indoor air pollution and cause of Sick House Syndrome. Some homes and workplaces make people sick because there are so many toxic fumes leaching into the air from VOCs.

Unfortunately, VOCs like formaldehyde can be found in everything from carpets to cosmetics. That means that even our own homes have the potential to contain more air pollution than the outdoors. It also means that a workplace can be an extremely polluted area if employers aren't careful.

Printing has traditionally been a high-VOC process, but it doesn't have to stay that way. At Hotcards, we print with low-VOC inks to help the planet, and also to keep the Hotcards team healthy. After all, a low-VOC workplace means fewer sick days, and that's the way the boss likes it!

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