Colorado algae startup makes black ink green


In Colorado, a startup is producing sustainable ink for packaging using algae as feedstock.

Dubbed Living Ink, the company was founded by PhD researchers Scott Fulbright and Stevan Albers. Most inks are made from petroleum-based chemicals. Production of common ink material carbon black creates byproducts such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter. Ink residues also release heavy metals into the environment. Living Ink’s Algae Black ink, however, is both biobased and compostable.

“I recall thinking, why are we making disposable packaging ink with materials that are made to last an eternity?” Fulbright writes in an issue of Cosmetics Business. “Why not use pigments that nature has already developed and which grow on a massive scale?”

Algae Black has also been found cut carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 200% per ton produced compared with traditional carbon black, Fulbright adds.