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US soy ink law to change

March 28, 2017

An old law made to help farmers produce soy-based ink is to be lifted to allow laser printers to use non soy-based toner.

Alton Daily News reported that a law made in the 1990s, which was created to help local farmers, has in fact not fulfilled its promise, and resulted in driving “up costs” and driving down competition. The law created demanded that “schools, universities and public agencies should only use soy-based ink for printing”, however technology has moved on, and cheaper and speedier laser printers cannot use soy-based ink.

Mark Batinick, Republican State Representative for Plainfield, is waiting for a Senate vote on his new bill, because the old requirement only serves to “drive prices up for taxpayer-funded jobs”, as state agencies “either go through a cumbersome waiver process or [have to] find a vendor willing to bend the truth about using soy-based ink. There’s no ink police. If there’s somebody that’s willing to break the rule, then it’s gonna put upward pressure on the price because he then doesn’t have any competition”.

The old law was intended to help Illinois’ soybean farmers profit, but it failed, and Tom Mercier, a Bloomington-based printer and BOPI President, gave a reason why it didn’t work: “It had no economic benefit for the farmers of Illinois. Soybeans are of the highest grade and would never be used in ink, which uses very low-grade soybeans. Illinois soybeans go into diesel fuel and wherever else soybean oil goes. It definitely doesn’t go into ink.”

Mercier also said that he was unaware of any suppliers still selling “25 percent soy-based ink”, and that most of the soy that was used for ink was from Brazil, but it was unlikely that suppliers would give details of their products.



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