Nowadays, it is very important that everyone do their part to help protect the environment. Although we want our clothes to look great and have them screen printed, the byproducts can do damage. This will depend on the methods the company uses.
It is very common for them to use plastisol for screen printing purposes. However, some are starting to make the switch to water-based screen printing thanks to the fact it is considerably more earth-friendly.
Plastisol is a type of ink which uses plastic or PVC. Companies prefer it because of its cost and ease of use, especially since it will not dry out in the screens. Unfortunately, care needs to be taken when cleaning off the screens or other pieces of equipment. If it is allowed to go down the drain, it will cause pollution.
Water-based ink makes use of pigments which are suspended in water. Since there are no harmful chemicals involved, cleanup is very easy. This type of ink can safely go down the drain just like mild household chemicals. It will not cause any damage to the environment since it contains no harmful solvent, toxins, or heavy metals such as lead.
Another benefit of water-based screen printing is it produces colors which are more vibrant than those produced by Plastisol. The ink will also be more durable than its counterparts, so frequent runs through a washing machine will not cause much of a problem.
While PVC-based inks have a reputation for being easy to work with, the same holds true for water-based and more earth-friendly inks. The process of using Plastisol requires the product to be heated to a specific curing temperature so the ink can dry. With water-based ink the product needs to be heated to allow the water to evaporate and leave the pigments behind to form the design.
The resulting product offers beautiful colors and soft prints. They can also be ironed. If you have ever ironed a t-shirt made with Plastisol, then you know what a mess it can be since the plastic can be melted quite easily.
Increased durability of the products created by water-based screen printing also helps keep the number of t-shirts inhabiting the landfills a bit lower. This in turn certainly helps the environment. So, the next time you are looking to get a custom screen printed job done, make sure it will only be done with water-based ink.