Reducing waste and boosting efficiency at your shop can be a big help to the environment – and your wallet!
Of course, screen printing relies heavily on chemicals — often harmful, toxic chemicals — from emulsion to pallet adhesives to plastisol inks. That’s not to say that making a screen printing shop more ecofriendly is a lost cause. There are several things you can do to lessen your shop’s environmental impact and tout your “green” business to customers. Let’s face this business reality – customers are increasingly making a conscious effort to choose businesses that are moving to green operations.
Choose Environmentally Friendly Screen Printing Supplies
Plenty of screen printing supply companies offer environmentally friendly supplies, from emulsion wash out to cleansers to inks. Look for products that are water, soybean or citrus based. Look for products that can be applied without the need for aerosol spray, which is bad for the environment and your employees’ health. Do be careful about which “green” products you choose to use in your shop. Many products that are touted as environmentally friendly are too often “greenwashed.” That is, they are made to sound more environmentally friendly than they actually are. It is important to do your research to ensure that your products are as environmentally friendly as they claim.
The all-electric VOLT can help you reduce
waste and lower your energy consumption
In addition to choosing supplies designed to improve your environmental footprint, the right equipment can help too. When choosing a new machine, look for models that will let you work as efficiently as possible. For example, an all-electric press can help reduce waste by printing more consistently than a pneumatic screen printing machine. And because it doesn’t rely on an air compressor (an inherently inefficient system), an all-electric machine can actually lower your power bill! Quartz flash cures can save energy over other models because they heat up and cool down quicker, using less electricity to flash your prints. If you’re looking for new screen printing equipment and keeping an eye on your environmental impact, make sure to do your research to find machines built for efficient operation. Not only will it help you run a greener shop, it can also save you money!
Dispose of Screen Printing Waste Properly
If you want to lessen your screen printing shop’s environmental impact, the best thing you can do is dispose of your screen printing inks properly. You likely know that plastisol ink needs to be disposed of professionally, due to the presence of PVC. What you might not realize is that even ecofriendly printing supplies shouldn’t just be washed down the drain. Water-based ink still contains some toxic chemicals and can’t just be washed down the drain. Even if you’re using water-based or biodegradable cleansers and supplies, they are likely mixing with your printing chemicals during your production process, which means that they shouldn’t be sent into the water system. Make sure you follow all manufacturers’ recommendations — and local waste disposal laws — when disposing of your screen printing waste.
Offer Environmentally Friendly Products
The green movement has caught on in the apparel industry as well, and environmentally friendly clothing has become more readily available. Of course, there’s organic cotton, which is grown and manufactured without toxic chemicals, but there are garments made from hemp, bamboo, recycled plastic and other environmentally friendly materials. Even traditional fabrics are getting an eco-friendly makeover, with manufacturers coming up with ways to produce fabrics in more sustainable ways. By printing on environmentally friendly substrates, you can lower your environmental impact and meet customer demands for greener options.
Look for Ways to Repurpose and Reuse Screen Printing Materials
One of the easiest ways to cut back on your shop’s environmental impact is to reduce the amount of garbage your shop generates on a regular basis. To that end, look for ways to reuse materials around the shop. Turn t-shirt misprints into rags; donate unclaimed, misprinted or other excess clothing; reuse the boxes your screen printing materials come in for other purposes.
Remember that Every Bit Counts
When you run a screen printing shop full of inks, emulsions, adhesives and heavy chemicals, it can seem nearly impossible to run a “green” shop. Keep in mind that any measures you take to lessen your environmental impact — whether it’s reducing the amount of garbage you send to the landfill or being careful about what you let run down the sink drain — make a difference. And you can make one change at a time to ultimately have an even bigger impact on your environmental footprint.
Looking for more ways to run a cleaner, less wasteful, more energy-conscious shop? You won’t only be helping the environment, you’ll also be helping your wallet! All Anatol machines are designed for maximum efficiency and consistency to keep your power bills and waste low – let’s discuss equipment ideas!