Yogi & Boo Ethical Clothing Manufacturer Bali

Is digital printing more sustainable than screen printing?

Are you evaluating screen printing or digital printing for your clothing? You’re in the right place. 

At Yogi and Boo, we’re all about enforcing sustainability and zero waste. With digital printing being the most environmentally friendly of the print types, it only makes sense for it to be one of our favourites!

But why is it more sustainable? Read on to find out. 

 1. Digital printing uses non-toxic inks

Screen Printer in ActionIn traditional printing, it takes a lot of toxic chemicals to produce a piece of fabric. You need dark-room chemicals to put the images on the screen, harsh chemicals in the dyes and you also have to deal with the solvents necessary to remove and break down the ink.

Most commonly, Plastisol ink, a plastic-based ink used for mass-produced apparel contains heat reactive plastics in the inks which are widely recognised as having harmful health and environmental effects. 

The adverse effects don’t stop in production though;  Plastisol-made garments continue to release phthalate toxins when exposed to heat, such as sustained sunlight, and even from high-powered dryers.

 In comparison, the inks for digital textile printing are water-based. These are applied either directly to the fabric for natural fibres or to paper and then transferred for polyester based fibres.

This means there is almost no waste and, unlike other types of printing, no hazardous solvents. By using water-based inks you avoid the harmful effects that are otherwise associated with plastisol inks. 

2. Digital printing conditions are significantly less poisonous to workers

When unregulated, screen printing makes use of harsh chemicals in the dyes. This produces a toxic waste that pollutes rivers, and results in chemically treated clothing that ends up in landfill.

This is part of the issue with fast fashion, which is produced cheaply and has a limited lifespan. A report from the National Institute of Safety and Health found that working in a confined screen printing environment is a health hazard due to exposure to isopropyl alcohol concentrations during the printing and washing process.

At Yogi & Boo our digital printing department is constantly being improved. We run our operation with a focus on sustainability with zero waste water and no chemical run off. Meanwhile our production floor has high power exhaust fans, which expel fabric dust. Our inks used are also Eco Passport certified by Oeko Tex.

Our fabulous Team | Yogi & Boo

3. Digital printing is more efficient

For digital printing, the process works – well digitally! Meaning, there is a complete reduction in ink waste because the printers only release the ink where it needs to be printed  – meaning the fabric produced is the fabric ordered. 

Since there is a considerable reduction of ink usage, the requirement to post-wash the fabric (a step which is used to remove excess ink from the fabric) is also significantly reduced and in Yogi & Boo’s case wholly avoided. The wastewater from this final washing process is one of the most polluting steps of the entire textile to garment process and accounts for most water usage in creating a piece of clothing.

Screen printing on the other hand, requires a different set up for each colour printed. Then there is the inevitable damage and misprints that are the standard result from the screen printing process. This results in it becoming costly to make small quantities and so a minimum order has to be applied.

At Yogi and Boo we have our own in-house Digital textile printers that can print on both natural cellulose fibres such as Cotton, Linen, Viscose and Bamboo along side Polyester for swimwear & activewear.

Through our sister company Palm Printing Co we now accept printing as a stand alone service.

You can read more about our values and ethics here.

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