Screen Printing With Water-based Inks Is Better For The Planet

Today it is important to do what we can to reduce our impact on the planet in everything we do. That includes considering options that are greener when it comes to choosing silkscreen printing for your garment customization needs. Where traditional screen printing uses inks that are solvent-based, these release VOCs into the air, (volatile organic compounds) that are harmful. Fortunately, water-based inks have been developed to create a less harmful ink so screen printing does not have such an impact on the environment. Here are some good reasons to choose water-based ink screen printing and how it works.

Traditional solvent-based inks versus water-based inks

As mentioned the traditional inks are solvent or petroleum based and these rely on chemical reactions to then stick to the fabrics they are being used on. However, with water-based inks, they penetrate the fibers and create a more natural and softer printed result. Water-based inks are the more sustainable option for t-shirt screen printing. Here is a look at what that means for the environment.

  • Reduce issues of water pollution – The printing and textile industries both are some of the prime reasons behind water pollution as their inks run off and contaminate water sources. This impacts fish and other aquatic life and has the potential to enter our food chain and drinking water. When you choose to use water-based inks with screen printing this minimizes these risks by quite a large amount. It also reduces how much water the printer needs to use.  
  • Lower the emissions that enter the air – As mentioned VOCs are a serious concern when it comes to air pollution and solvent-based inks release them contributing to issues such as smog and problems with the ozone. They are bad for our health too, causing breathing problems. Using water-based inks helps to clean up our air.   
  • Create a safer workplace in the t-shirt printing industry – Workers in printing environments with solvent inks are working in less safe spaces than those working with water-based. While a good printing service will make sure workers wear the necessary gear to work with the traditional inks, it is still safer to switch.    
  • Improve energy efficiency – Typically when printing services offering silkscreen printing use water-based inks they use less power because the ink needs a lower curing temperature. This makes them more energy efficient and lowers their carbon footprint.   
  • Improve your reputation – Whether you are the printing service or a business looking to print shirts to sell or give away, using better options for the environment improves your reputation with your customers, employees and investors. People appreciate businesses that care about the planet and align themselves with being part of the solution, not the problem.    
  • Create prints that are more biodegradable – Another great reason to choose screen printing with water-based inks is that they are more biodegradable than their solvent counterparts. They are less harmful when they reach landfills and clothing that uses water-based ink printing is easier to recycle which is important to consider. Less waste is always a good aim to have.