MarylandGrain gives vastly incomplete but accurate details as to how corn is used in industry. Vegetable (corn and soy) based inks are used to make the baby footprints at the hospital, camera film, cleaners, container packaging, food packaging, printers ink, packing peanuts, lubricants, paper, photo and ID cards, the ink on snack packs, but there are many more applications of corn in industry. I, unfortunately, react to most products made utilizing corn and soy derivatives. My reactions usually include hives, severe itching, headache, “brain fog,” dizziness, and sinus pain; I have loss consciousness when exposed to too much corrugated cardboard. It is difficult to avoid an allergen that is used so pervasively in our society. I encourage you to do the best you can and try to learn and memorize the potential pitfalls that are lurking like a ninja around every corner.
USING GRAIN IN INDUSTRY
In 1995 the first ever baby footprints were recorded in a hospital with ink made from grain. Nurses report that the ink worked very well, and was easier to clean than petroleum-based ink. Normally, nurses have to scrub under the baby’s toenails, but this ink cleans up using just soap and water.
Photographic films are made from the starch portion of corn.
Safer “new uses” cleaning products made from corn and soybeans have been developed and are being used worldwide. Multipurpose industrial strength solvent and glass and surface cleaners are cost competitive and do not create hazardous waste or water pollution. Waterless hand cleaners are healthier for the skin, do not crack the hands or smell. In electric applications where material failure and death occur, the hand cleaners have passed industry specifications and standards tests conducted by utilities, high voltage rubber glove makers and government laboratories.
Cornstarch is used in the production of paper packaging materials such as corrugated cardboard. Low cost, environmentally-friendly, pre-formed packaging for electronic equipment, egg cartons, and as a substitute for corrugated containers has also been developed. These new packaging products made from popcorn will replace those made largely from petroleum.
Popcorn is bringing an alternative in food service packaging, with the functional characteristics of molded polystyrene for use in plates, cups, and serving packages such as hamburger clamshells. Made from a vegetable-product, this packaging offers a safer product for consumers and the environment.
Corn- and soy-based inks are now replacing printer’s ink that was made from 100% petroleum products. Being vegetable-based makes it safe for placemats and packaging where ink may come in contact with our food. The colors are brighter and more easily recycled, revolutionizing the newspaper industry. Printing machines run smoother, are easier to clean, and safer for employees.
International Lubricants, Inc. synthesizes specialty lubricant additives from agricultural oils and formulates them into environmentally benign lubricants for consumer, industry and automotive uses. High-performance lubricants refined from renewable crop oils rather than imported petroleum cost more short-term – and much less long- term. The immediate payoff is that these new oils offer smoother running systems. Long-term benefits include such environmental payoffs as cleaner air, purer water and less depletion of our fossil fuels. These oils are required in applications such as hydraulic fluids for use in earth-moving equipment operating around dams and other locations where surface or ground water could be contaminated.
“Packing Peanuts” made of nearly 100% corn and wheat are now available. Made from a renewable resource, biodegradable packaging peanuts do not add to our problems of waste disposal. Products made from styrofoam take up valuable landfill space, and styrofoam can take up to 20 years to decompose. They contain no harmful products that will endanger the environment. Environmentally safe starch peanuts may be put in a compost pile or allowed to disappear naturally in water.
Nearly every single sheet of printing paper uses cornstarch to improve printability. Each ton of paper produced uses 28 pounds of cornstarch. Uncoated kenaf papers are tree-free, chlorine-free and acid-free. Exceptional print quality and functionality have been achieved in four-color process printing on sheet-fed and cold and heat-set web presses.
Phone & ID Cards
Sheet products made from corn polymers are used in the printable plastics industry – specifically phone cards, I.D. cards and similar value-added items other than the financial card industry.
Oat flour contains antioxidants that retard rancidity in fat-containing foods; it is a preservative inner coating for paper bags used to package salted nuts, coffee, and potato chips. Vegetable-based inks are used for safer packaging where ink may come in contact with our food.