National Geographic and the ink that stinks!

Okay, over a year ago I decided to subscribe to National Geographic. When I was a kid we read NG every month and my memories were very good.
The magazine was mostly what I remembered. Great stories and great pictures.
They spend an awful lot of time reporting environmental stories - makes sense. But after a couple of issues I really began to notice the stink when I unwrapped each edition as it was delivered to the house (it came in a plastic wrapper). Wow - the smell of the NON-SOY ink was overpowering, especially for the first hour or two.
Wait a minute - all the eco-friendly stuff I have ever read about ink pointed to soy inks as the answer. Not petroleum based, renewable resource, less toxic, etc. etc. So why is NG using the old stinky, polluting petroleum based ink?
Wrote to them. They emailed back that soy ink did not work well for them and they felt it was lessen the visual impact of their pictures.
Hmmm, I am supposed to do whatever I can to help the environment and NG is not willing to sacrifice a perceived lack of performance.
I found this information when I googled "soy ink":

"Information about the benefits of using soy-based ink for printing appears in an excellent article titled "Think Ink" that is published by Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of New Zealand. Our thanks go to Joss Debreceny, Communications Manager for SBN, for granting us permission to republish SBN's article here:
Think Ink
Nationally in the US Ink and Paint manufacturing plants contribute 0.5% of Total Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions.
A further 15% of Total VOC emissions are attributed to the use of these paints and inks.
Using a vegetable-based ink allows soy ink to produce up to 50% more impressions than the same amount of petroleum based ink.
Ink is made up of two components, the resin or pigment, and the carrier. It is necessary for ink to be 'carried' in an oil for three reasons:
The vehicle (oil) dissolves the pigment in its solid form to an easily applicable and adhesive fluid. The colour pigments are saturated in the carrier in order for them to be transferred to the receiving material.
The speed of drying is determined by the volatility of the carrier, as carriers with higher Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) rapidly evaporate on the receiving surface to 'set' the ink. Conversely, inks with lower VOCs have a slower drying time.
The strength of the carrier determines the adhesion of the ink to the receiving substrate. Ink will soak into porous substrates, such as paper and board, but will rest on the surface of non-porous substrates (PVC or Acrylic) if the carrier does not carry a solvent strong enough to dissolve the surface.
All inks contain solvents such as alcohol and other hydrocarbons in varying levels. Before the 1960s inks made from vegetable oils were commonplace in all areas of printing. However, with the boom in petroleum availability, mineral-based inks became cheaper and out-performed vegetable-based inks both in the printing room and the market. Heavy metals are used in petroleum-based ink to disperse the pigment and quicken the drying time. Chemicals derived from barium, copper, and zinc contaminate soil and groundwater, whilst petroleum solvents emit VOCs into the air. These VOCs can combine with other pollutant when released into the air to form ozone, contributing to haze and smog problems and subsequently aggravating or causing health problems such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. For workers in printing presses the health hazards are obviously more pronounced.
Although Vegetable based inks still emit VOCs, these are at drastically reduced levels and are accompanied by many other reasons to use vegetable-based ink. Soy-based inks can be marketed as such when the carrier is made from between 20% and 100% non-toxic soybean oil instead of harmful petrochemicals. Furthermore, the change from mineral-based ink to vegetable-based ink is one from a non-renewable source to a renewable source.
Vegetable-based inks are thinner making them more translucent and therefore less pigment is required to get the same strength of colour.
When a trade-off is made on the basis of cost it is important to keep this in mind as pigment can often be a costly part of your printing process. It is also important to keep in mind when designing for print the different types of pigments that are available and what these pigments are derived from. Colours to avoid are: fluorescents, warm reds, and metallics.
Soy inks are also thought by many printers to be more forgiving, making it easier to get a high quality job off of older equipment. Soy inks have broad applicability; although commonly used in lithograph printing processes for newspapers, books, and magazines, it is also effective to use for commercial printing applications.
Water-based inks are rare, and often use dyes (with an organic rather than mineral basis). The quality of print, gloss and adhesion is equal to that of solvent-based ink, although the ink may have reduced product resistance. Although some are slower drying, UV-curable pigments and air-drying systems are able to speed this process.
Both colour and black soy inks are competitively priced with petroleum-based inks, although black soy newsprint inks can be up to 25% more expensive. However, the slightly higher cost in using soy-based ink is offset by the reduced amount of resin needed to colour the soy ink. Furthermore, printing with soy ink generates less paper waste during press runs, reducing the disposal volumes and therefore costs.
Biochemicals Save the Private Sector money in three ways:
Reduced environmental compliance costs
Improved worker safety
Reduced disposal and liability costs
Furthermore, the adoption of environmental printing processes allows your company to tap into the 'green consumerism' market."
Taken from the website. They supply environmentally responsible office supplies.

So, NG doesn't use soy ink. Well, they can shut up about what the rest of us should do about the environment until they practice what they preach in my opinion.

DISCLAIMER: I am an avid re-cycler, I do my best to watch my waste and encourage others to do the same. I have a hard time getting preached to about the environment from people or organizations that should clean up their own back yard before they worry about mine.

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