Another way to go green is through the inks you use. Water-based inks are one of the most popular choices when it comes to more sustainable inks.
Luckily for screen printers interested in using water-based inks they have become easier to use in recent years. They also have the added benefit of containing no PVC and since they are water-based they can be washed out with just water.
Though that does not necessarily mean they should go down the drain; check with your state regulations and always make sure you have a proper way to dispose of the waste.
Apart from the environmental benefit of water-based inks, they also look great on light colored t-shirts and have an incredibly soft hand since they dye the fabric, instead of coating it.
This makes them extremely popular in the fashion industry, and they’re great for creating the vintage looks that are all the rage these days. Water-based inks are in such demand that some screen printing shops print exclusively with water-based inks.
A few screen printing companies are unleashing their inner scientist and coming up with their own unique inks made out of organic material.
So, if chemistry was your favorite class in school you can start experimenting with those beets.
Switching to more eco-friendly cleaners is another great place to start becoming more eco-friendly. The cleanup process required in a screen printing shop often relies on harsh chemicals to get to the job done, and it requires hands on work, since those screens don’t wash themselves.
Though don’t we all wish we had a band of cheerful singing forest creatures to help us with the clean up. Using greener cleaning products will not reduce the overhead costs of running a screen printing shop, it will also not raises the costs greatly either. And the benefits often outweigh the small price increase.
Using green cleaners will reduce the amount of fumes you, or your screen washer, is breathing in, and it will mean you’re working with less hazardous materials.
Furthermore, green cleaners are often only a few cents more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Many screen printing suppliers carry full lines of eco-friendly material from degreaser to dehazers.
Apart from these broad changes that can be enacted, never forget that the small things make a difference as well. Here’s a list of little things that can help you become more eco-friendly.
Switch up what kind of pallet adhesive you’re using. There are multiple options when it comes to pallet adhesives. Our shop uses water-based adhesives, which we squirt onto the pallet from a bottle. This eliminates the over-spray problem of aerosol cans, and it eliminates the aerosol cans themselves.
An added bonus is the fact that they can be reactivated by water, meaning you don’t have to apply the adhesive as much.
Buy a bottleless water cooler. It eliminates the need for those plastic jugs of water, and it will save you money in the long run.
Turn off the lights. This one doesn’t require buying anything, but turning off the lights at night saves energy and money since you won’t use as much electricity.
Invest in a programmable thermostat for you air conditioning unite. Our shop thermostat is set to start at six in the morning, and is programmed to run at a higher temperature over the weekends. This saves energy and money, and is not expensive to buy.
These are just a few steps to help your shop become greener. Of course there are many other things that can be done. The sky’s the limit, and every step counts.
So, if all you do is switch to recycled paper products or whether you can switch to using solar panels, it all makes a difference and earns you a big hug from Mother Earth, or one of her activists.
Enjoy, Blue Ridge Graphics