In a time when it is so important to be environmentally conscious, I have put together a list of tips that may help those looking to be a little greener in the new year do so. Maybe you will be inspired by a few screen printing techniques that you have never thought of before!
Numero Uno, use less packaging! It is possible to reduce the amount of packaging that use by considering how you receive or send items. For example, if you have your screen printing items delivered (as we do in Reno), consider requesting that they don’t come in needless packaging since they are riding in a vehicle directly to your home. Also, try to use recycled materials whenever possible for your box packaging and try to cut down on any interior packaging, especially if you’re only mailing t-shirts.
Secondly, paper towels are one of the most commonly used products in screen printing shops. It seems that they are constantly used for even the smallest of messes. In addition, it is hard to find a quality paper towel that can handle an ink mess or screen color change. I would recommend attempting to substitute some of the paper towel waste with old t-shirts (commonly found around a screen printing shop) or reusable towels. T-shirts and towels do a great job of cleaning up ink and can be washed and re-used. Win-win, right?
Next, offer organic t-shirts and waterbased ink for your customers. It is important for all consumers to know this option is available and many may be willing to pay a little more to contribute to an environmentally conscious decision. In my experience, waterbased inks hold up and produce a product just as nice as plastisol. In addition, many of the organic shirts are nicer and softer than the less expensive brands. Even if the customers decide to go with a less expensive option, it was worth a try.
My last suggestion is to not put harsh chemicals down the drain. There is entire new lines of screen printing products that are very earth friendly and will not contribute to polluting the city water. Also, the recirculating emulsion/ink cleaners can be used many times over versus a one time use. I think this and the other tips will help your shop become a little bit more environmentally friendly.