Toluene usage will continue to decline in India

Ban on toluene usage expected soon

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Sebastian Anton, head of Global Business Development, Oxea
Sebastian Anton, head of Global Business Development, Oxea

Usage of toluene in flexible packaging inks will continue to decline in India as the industry moves to alternative solutions ahead of the impending complete ban by the government, Sebastian Anton, head of Global Business Development, Oxea said during the 8th Speciality Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2019. Oxea is a Germany-based manufacturer of various types of chemicals, including solvents.

“There are strong indications that the Indian government will completely ban the use of toluene in the printing of packaging materials in the very near future. This will force packaging printers to move to other alternatives. So, it is a good time for Oxea to be in India as we offer excellent alternatives to toluene,” Anton told Packaging South Asia in an interview after his presentation during the 8th Speciality Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit.

Toluene has earned disrepute the world over for its bad toxicological profile and the substance has been phased out in developed markets and even in emerging markets like Sri Lanka. Residual toluene in packaging also impacts the organoleptic properties of the product, thus leading to food quality and safety issues. However, in India toluene is still used at a large scale in the packaging industry.

Oxea offers n-propanol and n-propyl acetate products, under the Propyls brand name, for print shops and ink manufacturers the world over. These can replace conventional solvents in gravure printing and flexography, and this change requires no further spending on the existing printing environment.

“With our solution printers can save on inks as well as solvents which can reduce costs. Propyls can be used for an extended period of time with less refills during the printing process,” Anton shared. Oxea has a distribution tie-up with Mumbai-based Hazel Mercantile.

Anton said that major players in the Indian packaging printing industry have already started making a shift from toluene.

“Small and mid-sized companies will also follow the bigger players. Big ink makers are already suggesting printers about alternative solutions. I see strong demand for alternatives to toluene in India,” Anton concluded.