Manufacturers have been including sustainable development in their specifications for many years. In practice, this has mainly meant attempting to reduce waste at source and paying attention to materials used. At the centre of this ever-present desire for optimisation, one element common to all printed communication has been neglected: ink. Ink does however have a significant environmental and economic impact. Eco ink coverage aims to provide a solution to advertisers looking to optimise their ink usage.

What is eco ink coverage?

The eco ink coverage technique, which was developed by Diadeis, is a way of optimising images on packaging or other communication media to reduce ink consumption without adversely affecting designs. It calls on both design and prepress skills. A creative eye is essential to ensure that the changes proposed will not be detrimental to the design. In some cases they may even improve it. Additionally, reprographics expertise is needed to optimise ink coverage and quantify the benefits.

Eco ink coverage can be used for the three most common printing techniques - offset, flexography and photogravure, whatever the substrate.


What are the benefits?

By undertaking an ink reduction project, manufacturers can both decrease their ecological impact and reduce costs.

According to a study undertaken by Diadeis on more than 200 packages from a wide variety of sources, eco ink coverage reduced ink requirements by an average of 15 to 25%, and in some cases the number of colours was also reduced. This is significant because ink is not innocuous. It contains toxic components and has an environmental impact, especially during recycling when printed material is deinked. Among other benefits, by using less ink a company saves energy and water and produces less CO2, VOCs and acidification.

Also, ink is an increasingly expensive product, with significant price rises seen in recent years. By using less ink, companies save money. Additionally, they also make savings on printing forms, calibration and recycling.

Overall, eco ink coverage is an excellent choice: it offers benefits without any parallel negative effects. So what is there to lose?