The widely-used selling point for recycled or remanufactured ink cartridges is that it is environment-friendly. Aside from saving the cartridges from the landfill, it also helps in preventing cartridge leaks which can be hazardous to the environment.
Not all printer inks are toxic to the environment , some of them may have minimal ill effects. The level of toxins in printer inks depends on the their base materials. Most of the printer and ink manufacturers today produce petroleum-based inks. These inks are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. As such, the production of petroleum-based inks is not environment-friendly because it contributes to the hasty consumption of a non-renewable source.
Petroleum-based inks also emit volatile organic compounds when the ink dries or when the printout is thrown to a dumpsite. Volatile organic compounds are gases that contain harmful chemicals and may have either short-term or long-term health effects.
Most of the petroleum-based inks today contain as much as 30% volatile organic compounds. If you want something more environment-friendly, you can go for printer inks that have only 5% or even volatile organic compounds. This information is found in the ink manufacturer’s material safety data sheet.One possible alternative to petroleum-based ink is vegetable-based ink. This is not a new discovery. The process and concept have been used extensively after the Second World War. Vegetable-based and soy-based inks are derived mostly from renewable resources so they contribute more to environment conservation.