In this month’s DTG Column, Peter Wright, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, explores the buzz word of the moment ‘sustainability’ and how you can work to achieve a more sustainable print business.
From Prince William to Stella McCartney, from Boris Johnson to David Attenborough, everyone’s talking about it. Sustainability is the buzz word of the decade and as we begin our business journey into 2020, we all need to consider it, if we are to continue to succeed.
But do we truly know what it means?
Sustainability is understood as the development that meets present needs without compromising the capacities of future generations and ensuring the balance between.
The principles of sustainability are the foundations of what this concept represents. Therefore, sustainability is made up of three pillars: economic, social and environment. These principles are also informally used as profit, people and planet.
Print on demand
If you consider yourself a main player in the garment decoration business, but are yet to try direct to garment as a printing option, then you should be considering it now more than ever.
Direct to garment printing is considered the most sustainable way to decorate a shirt as it allows
Print on Demand (POD). This is a business process where individual prints are only produced when the end customer has ordered and often paid for the product – think online stores, drop shipping, Shopify etc. It is also a great solution for trial and sample orders.
This helps massively with today’s consumer culture. There are DTG systems out there that can provide same day turn around in small or large numbers. This helps prevent all the waste from stocking pre-printed garments. Millions of garments are destroyed every year, adding to the environmental situation.
If you are already printing DTG then you should be asking yourself if the inks and solutions, you are using meet the highest sustainable standards with zero wastewater and a low carbon footprint.
The number one environmental risk factor in textiles is water pollution. Did you know that the volume of water used in conventional dyeing and textile print processes could fill the Mediterranean Sea every two years! The amount of water currently used, wasted, and polluted is staggering. The industry shift towards digital printing goes a long way towards reducing its environmental impact.
Some manufacturers have now developed technologies with a 100% waterless process and with no pre-treatment, steaming or washing required.
Some DTG ink suppliers manufacture water-based inks called NeoPigment that are free of heavy metals, formaldehyde and Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APE), making them non-hazardous, non-toxic and biodegradable.
Many companies in the textile and apparel supply chain are proactively working to ensure their products are free of restricted substances. They subsequently receive relevant certifications providing assurances that printing on their textiles and garments will not involve hazardous substances and deem their products safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable. Moving to digital printing is an environmental, cost-effective and higher quality option for your apparel and textile printing needs and is the first step in leaving the toxic trail behind forever.
Find a company that provides digital printing solutions that are more environmentally friendly than other traditional and digital printing methods. Ask questions of your equipment supplier, ask for their ink and pre-treatment safety information, and what standards they carry.
There are two main accreditations to look out for:
- Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex – this is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances and means for certain the article is harmless in human ecological terms.
- GOTS – this is a global textile certification, like Oeko-Tex, but goes beyond verifying the organic process. To be GOTS approved an ink must not be treated with bleach, formaldehyde or other toxic substances, coloured with nontoxic dyes and be produced in a plant that enforces strict social and environmental stands.
Now, if not already, your customers will be demanding printed garments that carry these standards and being transparent with your information will win you business over your competition.
So, to conclude DTG printing offers your business the most sustainable printing process and your customers a safe and environmentally friendly garment that helps protect the world we live in.