A Screen Printer’s Guide to Environmentally Friendly Apparel
Choosing to print garments that are eco-friendly can help reduce your shop’s environmental footprint…and it can help you attract customers!
If you haven’t already, you should be looking to add environmentally friendly apparel to your product offerings.
Why should you offer environmentally friendly apparel?
Once a novelty, environmentally friendly fabrics have become part of everyday life. They can be found everywhere from specialty stores to big box retailers. The millennial generation, which grew up amidst a wave of “green” messages, is now the buying generation, and they’re looking for fabrics for themselves and their children that are less likely to harm their health or the environment. Companies have also turned an eye toward sustainability, meaning there’s a good chance your corporate clients will come to you for branded apparel that’s also eco-friendly.
Ultimately, if you’re not offering eco-friendly apparel, you could be missing out on business. Or, even better, by offering and promoting your eco-friendly garments, you could be attracting new customers and growing your business. Of course, by offering eco-friendly apparel, you’re doing your part to reduce your own business’s impact on the environment.
A variety of different eco-friendly options
So what exactly constitutes environmentally friendly apparel? The eco-apparel market is actually quite vast and full of options. Whether it’s referred to as environmentally friendly, eco-friendly, green, sustainable or eco-alternative apparel, goods in this category are produced in a way that’s meant to have a lower impact on the environment. Some popular eco-friendly clothing materials include:
- Organic cotton
Organic cotton is grown without the use of chemicals like pesticides, insecticides and defoliants. That stands to have a major impact on the environment, as approximately 23 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of the world’s pesticides are used on cotton.
- Recycled polyester
Recycled polyester is manufactured from PET, the same type of plastic used in beverage bottles. Recycled polyester helps keep plastic out of landfills.
Bamboo fabrics have become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional materials because the bamboo plant grows quickly, requires one third of the water it takes to grow the same amount of cotton, and doesn’t require chemicals to grow because bamboo doesn’t naturally fall victim to pests. Material woven from bamboo is valued for its soft feel and its anti-bacterial properties.
Like bamboo, hemp takes less water to grow and doesn’t require pesticides and insecticides because of the lack of natural threats. Ultimately, hemp requires about one twentieth of the water cotton needs to grow.
There are plenty of other environmentally friendly fabrics manufactured from a variety of different plants, so keep an eye out for new alternative garments!
How to avoid “greenwashing”
While the world of environmentally friendly apparel might seem foreign, choosing which eco-friendly products to offer is just like choosing any other product. Avoiding “greenwashing” is important in your search for the right apparel. Greenwashing refers to the marketing of products as being more environmentally friendly than they really are. It’s crucial that you do your research, examine samples and look for quality products and suppliers. Just like traditional apparel, not all brands are created equal, and the quality of your final printed product will depend on the quality of the garments you purchase.
Looking for more ideas on how to run a greener screen printing shop? Check out this blog post: