Tips on Creating Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Screen Printed Merch

Posted by Jeffrey Gononsky on

Being conscious of what is put back out into the world has become much more relevant in recent years. Many companies are making the switch to more eco-friendly products and materials. This push comes not only from companies, but many consumers are looking for sustainable products to decrease their carbon footprints as well.

The fashion industry has been in the global spotlight lately regarding its impact on the environment, from fast fashion to couture brands. The manufacturing and shipping processes for clothing make up a large part of the world’s carbon footprint. Taking steps to make your screen printing business an exception to this can benefit the environment and your business.

Screen printing is a messy industry, and many of the original techniques and supplies used are harmful to the environment. Nevertheless, companies like us at Holden's Screen Supply have supplies that help you achieve sustainable and eco-friendly screen printing in New York with products like water based screen printing ink.

Keep reading to find out how you can create screen printed merch in a way that is safe for the planet. After all, this is the only one we get, so we should do our part to take care of the earth like it takes care of us.

Eco-Friendly Screen Printing Tips

There are many benefits to eco-friendly screen printing, but knowing where to start can be daunting. So to simplify this, there are a few tips that can make a big difference. Being mindful of every step in the screen printing process pays off in the long run for the earth. 

The increase in environmental accountability has improved the number of eco-friendly methods and products, making the switch even easier for companies and individuals. A few ways to become more environmentally friendly when screen printing include the products used to print, types of material printed on, water based ink, mindful ordering, and simple in-shop practices. 

Eco-Friendly Chemicals 

One of the ways to achieve eco-friendly screen printing is to stop using harsh chemicals. This may not seem easy since the main necessities for screen printing include chemical-heavy screen washes, openers, degreasers, and strippers. However, there is an ever-growing variety of eco-friendly products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, and soy or citrus-based. 

Using these eco-friendly products is good for the environment and a much safer choice for the person using them. Chemical-based washes and aerosols are dangerous to inhale. 

Eco-Friendly Garments 

An easy way to be more environmentally conscious in screen printing is by choosing the right garments that are being printed on. Choosing high-quality garments made with natural fibers like organic cotton or bamboo fabrics can make a big difference. While it may be easier to get industry-standard materials, the quality of organic cotton and other natural fibers improves durability. In the long run, investing in quality eco-friendly materials will benefit the earth, the company, and the customers.

Water Based Ink

Have you used water based ink before? The use of sustainable screen printing ink that is water based has been a revolutionary step in making screen printing more environmentally friendly. Plastisol ink is a popular choice because it isn’t as expensive, which is beneficial for large companies. However, plastisol ink is made with PVC, a plastic that isn’t just damaging to the environment but also to one’s health.

Finding a water based screen printing ink doesn’t have to be complicated, though. At Holden’s Screen Supply, we have various types of water based inks that make becoming more eco-friendly easy. These inks are superior to plastisol inks because it completely soaks into the fabric instead of sitting on it. Additionally, water based ink improves the quality of your prints because it leaves a soft, clean, and long-lasting finish.  

At Holden’s, we have a wide selection of water based inks that work with multiple mediums. We have ready-to-use inks (RFU), high-solid acrylic inks (HSA), and SAQ Inks for paper. Check out our water based screen printing inks here!  

Mindful Ordering 

One of the most significant negative impacts on the global environment is the carbon footprint left by cars, trucks, and planes. This is an unavoidable part of screen printing because everything is being shipped to companies to make the products, which are then shipped to customers. 

A way to combat this is by being mindful of the number of products ordered for production, the suppliers these products come from, and the efficient shipping of finished products to customers. By ordering the materials and supplies in bulk, you can avoid excess waste and the need for multiple shipments. 

We feel it’s vital to ensure the companies you purchase your supplies from are eco-friendly. Many companies advertise green, environmentally friendly practices but the products themselves are not eco-friendly. Not only is that confusing for customers, but frustrating too.

Companies can also positively impact their carbon footprint by efficiently shipping their products to customers. This means gauging the exact number of items needed are shipped out together as opposed to under or overprinting, which results in more waste and multiple shipments.

In-Shop Efforts 

Overall, the sustainability of your screen printing methods lies with the individual printers. You can be more eco-friendly by making conscious choices in the physical location of your business. This can be done by simply replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, implementing filtration systems to remove harmful by-products of screen printing, and reusing or recycling waste like extra shirts, misprints, or screen films.

Implementing a filtering system is one of the most effective eco-friendly methods to add to your screen printing process. This prevents harmful materials from washing down the drain when you are cleaning screens or any other surface with harsh chemicals on them. 

Incorporating these habits in your screen printing process helps you be more sustainable and eco-friendly while still producing quality merch. Screen printing doesn’t have to be done with harsh and dangerous chemicals to make vibrant and durable prints. At Holden’s, we have eco-friendly products like water based screen printing ink so you can become more environmentally friendly. It’s one easy step to the larger, eco-friendly picture!