Soy-Based Toner Now Available in Replacement Printer Cartridges


For more than a decade, using farmer contributed checkoff dollars, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) has worked in partnership with Battelle, headquartered in Columbus, to develop an environmentally friendly toner utilizing soybeans. This bio-based toner replaces traditional petroleum-based toner and is an example of OSC’s efforts to continue discovering new uses for soybeans and soybean byproducts.

“We are pleased to see this project come to fruition,” said Keith Kemp, OSC Chairman. “OSC continues to be a strong innovator and leader in funding research to develop soy biobased products and the soy toner project has been by far our biggest success.”

Advanced Image Resources, Inc. (AIR) is the licensee of this technology. The company manufacturers the soy-based resin, called BioRez, which contains 60% biobased products. This resin is a vital component in the production of the toner.

“The introduction of AgriTone culminates a multiyear effort by AIR to develop and bring to market a viable, environmentally friendly resin derived predominately from renewable resources,” said Tom Gandolfi, cofounder and CEO of AIR.

A leading manufacturer of aftermarket imaging supplies has realized the promise of soy-based toner.

West Point Products has announced its release of AgriTone premium replacement toner cartridges, a series of remanufactured laser toner cartridges containing toner that is 35 percent or more biobased. In 2008 alone, the company collected more than 900,000 cartridges through its Empty Core Collection Program and recycled more that 1 million pounds of raw materials from its manufacturing process

The AgriTone product is  available for the following printers:

  • HP LaserJet 4200 series
  • HP LaserJet 4300 series
  • HP LaserJet 4345mfp
  • HP LaserJet 4250/4350 series

Subsequent releases will expand the product line to include other popular small work group printers by leading manufacturers.

Soy-based toner:

  • Increases the ease in which paper is recycled compared to petroleum-based toners, resulting in cleaner and brighter pulp for future use in a variety of second-hand products.
  • Increases energy independence by alleviating the need for petroleum-based toner.
  • Spurs economic development by increasing demand for existing agricultural products.
  • Improves the environment by reusing existing processes and promoting the use of renewable bio-based resources.

“We are extremely proud of this new product offering,” said Tom Day, West Point Products CEO. “At West Point Products, we have long prided ourselves for our commitment to the environment which has become a focal point of our daily operations.”

According to Battelle, the 2007 worldwide toner market was $17 billion. Using this figure, if the entire market were to utilize soy-based toner, 302.4 million pounds of soybean oil would be needed. This equates to 26.8 million bushels of soybeans and increased potential for the commodity crop.

“We are very gratified that our soy-based toner technology is being commercialized by our licensee, Advanced Image Resources, and their supply chain partners,” said Rick Heggs, Battelle senior market manager. “This technology represents a significant leap forward in providing the printer and copier industry with a high performance bioderived toner with excellent image quality. This commercial introduction reinforces our belief that our alliance with the Ohio Soybean Council is critical to our efforts to bring new soy-based industrial products to market to benefit the Ohio agricultural economy in general and the Ohio soybean farmer specifically.”

This toner technology has been recognized with industry and national awards:

  • OSC and Battelle won an R&D 100 award for the toner technology in 2003.
  • OSC, Battelle and Advanced Image Resources Inc. won a Presidential Green Chemistry Award for the soy toner technology in 2008 from the EPA.

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