Silbo HQ flags

Are water-based inks that do not disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem the future of the packaging industry? Polish group Silbo, which specialises in biodegradable and biocompostable packaging, certainly thinks so, describing such imprints as the answer to the needs of a rapidly changing market that is embracing the issues of sustainability and environmental protection.

“Just two decades ago in the domestic market nobody even considered developing sustainable production and making products neutral for the environment,” says Marcin Spiewok, president of Silbo. “However, Silbo approached this idea, going against common trends. One of the main stages of Silbo's development was the transition to water-based inks. It meant a total, uncompromising change in the company philosophy, but the risk paid off. This only demonstrates that the technology of packaging production with eco water-based imprints is not a mere fad but something that other supporters of innovation can definitely follow.”

The technology that Silbo has implemented for some years is a patent developed by BASF, introduced as part of the ‘Prethink Ink’ project that promotes the idea of responsible ink production. Using this water-based ink is equally as efficient, in terms of the properties and reaction of material in the printing press, as standard inks, with Silbo representatives confirming that there is no limit to what can be printed and materials can be used.

“When we develop a new project, water-based inks are always part of it – there is never a reason why we couldn't use them,” explains Spiewok. “We are absolutely confident of this printing technology.”

Silbo suggests that it may not be long before all packaging producers switch over to water-based inks as their preferred mode of operation.

“A lot of signs indicate that this is going to happen,” Spiewok confirms. “This process will be rather evolutionary, because new solutions have to be adapted gradually. However, it is already evident that the industry solutions are changing, and this does not solely apply to the packaging business.

“Initially rather sceptically received, the eco-trend is now the new standard we are gradually getting accustomed to. The demand for certain technologies is also changing, as customers will not only want to know ‘how much’, but also ‘how’ and ‘with what effect’.”