The new green is black - Algae Black™…

Mar 6, 2024

In the hunt for new and innovative materials, there is so much to research, and so much still left uncovered. And sometimes, the most impressive results come from where you least expect it. At Trimco Group, we're always on the lookout for innovative solutions that align with our, as well as our partnering brands', commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility goals. In light of this, we're thrilled to have kick-started our collaboration with Living Ink Technologies, a pioneer in the development of algae-based ink – the printing industry’s new black.

Introducing Algae Ink™

Algae Ink™ is a groundbreaking product that offers a truly sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-derived inks. It's created using algae biomass waste for pigments, making it an environmentally safe and sustainable color pigment solution. This ink is 16% algae cells and 63% water, and the remaining ingredients are VOC-free.

Living Ink, co-founded by a former science teacher, Steve Albers (CTO), and a marine biology enthusiast Scott Fulbright (CEO) who met during their Molecular Biology PhD program, was born out of their shared commitment to environmental stewardship and a transformative idea to use algae as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based inks. Today, their shared passion is the leading global provider of carbon-negative pigments and bio-based inks.

Living Ink sources its raw materials from a spirulina algae grower in southern California, leveraging sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to grow its own algae cells at large scale. Through their patented process, food and beverage biomass waste is diverted from landfills and transformed into their carbon-negative ALGAE BLACK™ pigment which is used to color their collection of bio-based ALGAE INK™ printing inks.

A perfect fit for Trimco Group's Hangtags

We've started experimenting with Steve’s and Scott’s innovative inks and it did not take us long to see its potential and added value for our hangtags and printed paper items. Our goal is to further incorporate their inks into other areas of our business, creating a comprehensive, low-impact solution across our product range, and supporting brands who align on the same sustainability goals. With our trims collection hitting more than 90% sustainable materials, Algae Ink™ was a great addition to this journey.

"Living Ink is more than just a company - it's our way of making a positive impact on the world. We're passionate about crafting renewable, bio-based pigments that don't compromise on performance and help to protect our environment. Our partnership with Trimco Group embodies this mission, bringing sustainable solutions to forward-thinking brands that share our vision. By choosing our Algae Black ink, Trimco isn't just adopting a new product - they're spearheading a transformation in the fashion industry and helping to make a greener future possible," shares Scott Fulbright, CEO of Living Ink.

While conventional petroleum-derived inks pose health risks, Algae Ink™ is free of PAHs and heavy metals, making it safe for workers, end-users, and the planet. Additionally, Algae Black pigment™ sequesters more carbon than it emits during its production process, making it a carbon-negative solution. Living Ink mentions that a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment conducted by an ISO-certified team from Colorado State University showed that the Algae Black pigment achieves carbon negativity at large-scale production.

I'm genuinely thrilled about this collaboration and the potential of using Algae Ink. In my role, I explore a lot of materials and alternatives daily, but this one truly stands out. It's not just another 'green' solution. It is designed to make a change and be a low-impact material, from start to end. I can't wait to see how our partner brands will receive and benefit from this innovation and if we can broaden the use of algae in other trim areas.”, mentions Lone Mogensen, Brand Coordinator and Materials Specialist at Trimco Group.

Meeting Regulatory Standards

In a progressive move towards environmental protection and sustainability, the French Government has introduced regulations on the use of mineral oils in packaging and printed materials. As part of the Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law, the "Decree No. 2020-105" has been published. In effect since January 1st, 2023, for unsolicited advertising materials and catalogs for commercial promotions, and starting with January 2025, for materials intended for the general public, this decree mandates the elimination of two categories of mineral oils (MOSH and MOAH), often found in traditional petroleum-based inks.

This regulatory shift presents a unique opportunity for ink choices for brands. At Trimco Group, we’ve already been aware of the regulatory requirements and we’ve thus been using soy and water-based inks for a long time. Adding the Algae Ink™ products, which are also water-based and soy-based, to the options came naturally. As a safe and compliant alternative to toxic carbon black-derived inks, Algae Ink™ aligns perfectly with these new regulatory standards within the Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law. Moreover, it offers companies a solution that sidesteps the increasing restrictions faced by conventional inks.

The new green printing is black.
If you want to learn more about printing options for your hangtags with Algae Ink™, get in touch with us.

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