The majority of screen printers use plastisol inks, which are made of plastic. Plastisol inks leach out harmful chemicals that are known carcinogens during the whole life of the garment and after disposal. This PVC-based plastic is NOT RECYCLABLE and contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and solvents.
Transfer prints are made from a plastic called vinyl that takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.
We ONLY use eco-friendly water based inks and NEVER use plastisol inks or harmful discharge printing.
Many garments contain polyester fibres, particularly sweaters, hoodie and polo shirts as the polyester fibres make the garment more hard wearing. Polyester is a type of plastic. In theory, this can be recycled but, in practise, is often not. Microplastic fibres come off the garments during washing and wearing and pollute water sources. Some suppliers manufacture garments using recycled polyester, from plastic bottles. It’s great that the plastic is recycled but important to note that chemicals are given off during processing and some micro plastics will be lost during garment use. It’s important to ensure that the end product can be recycled satisfactorily.
We recommend using organic cotton or other sustainable fabrics such as bamboo, Tencel, modal or EcoVero viscose. However, the Salvage range of garments and most sweaters/hoodies have some recycled polyester content to increase durability.
Don't forget the Labels and Buttons
Sadly, even 100% organic cotton garments usually have plastic embellishments such as buttons or tags.
The wonderful garments we source still have plastic based labels but we can provide custom made sew-in tags that are 100% organic cotton.
And What About the Packaging?
Most T-shirt Printers offer a bagging service for individual packaging each T-shirt in a polybag, made from plastic.
For bulk orders, we re-use the recycled plastic bags that the garments come in or use a biodegradable box liner to protect garments. We recommend our custom printed cardboard boxes for sending out individual items to your customers (no plastic required) but we also have biodegradable bags if bagging is required.
We re-use garment boxes and packaging, rather than buy our own. They don't look as pretty but we just couldn't justify throwing away perfectly good boxes. We use recycled paper tape to reseal them and the address labels are recycled paper too.
We also source and print T-shirt boxes for our customers, that are designed to hold a single T-shirt. The boxes are recycled and fully recyclable and compostable.