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Saving the planet or saving ourselves?

Saving the planet or saving ourselves?

A well-known author, journalist, and marketing consultant who focuses on marketing communication strategies for the printing industries and who often writes on sustainability in the textile industry, recently published an article about whether we’re really serious about saving the planet.

In the introduction she suggests that we’re not doing well in the attempt to meet the sustainability goals set for 2030. In fact, shes says that “It’s a little shocking and scary!” Interestingly, this is the same journalist that made a mess of an article on glitter as a microplastic by referencing ‘biodegradable’ glitter for cosmetic products in an article about glitter in textile applications.

By all accounts, it’s true that we’re not doing well in the sustainability drive. And perhaps it’s because we’re not getting people’s attention because we’re not phrasing the problem properly. What we should be saying is that it’s about saving ourselves, not the planet. The planet has been here through thick and thin for 4 1/2 billion years, we’ve only been here for the most recent 200,000 years. The planet is going nowhere. It’s us that’s at risk.

So, maybe if we stopped talking about saving the planet and instead talked about saving ourselves, it might be more effective. Likewise, maybe when we’re talking about sustainability in our industry, it should be in the context of saving our industry.

Language matters.

Transforming textiles

In a recent article in WhatTheyTh!nk, Johnny Shell provided an update on what the fashion-textile industry is doing to deal with it’s rehabilitate itself from a major polluter ro a more sustainable industry.

Shell reminds us that the textile industry is a notorious consumer and polluter of water—about 93 billion cubic meters. That’s about 20% of the world’s wastewater. In addition to that, the textile industry is responsible for about 10% of global CO2 emissions and generates about 92 billion tons of solid waste each year.

So, in order to address these issues, the industry is apparently implementing the following strategies:

  • Optimizing water use.
  • Reducing energy consumption.
  • Minimizing waste.
  • Promoting recycling.

It seems to me that these are measures that every shop can aim to implement. As the popular saying goes: “We’re all in this together.”


What happened to discharge printing?

Discharge printing has been around, apparently since the 90’s. About ten years ago discharge prints were a hot item but since then interest has dropped off. I’m not sure why. But like other ‘fads’ in our industry such as, say, fluorescents, discharge prints could make a comeback. So what s it?

Discharging is basically a process of ‘bleaching’ or discharging (the official term) the dye in a dischargeable garment (usually 100% cotton garment with dischargeable dye) during the printing process. One thing you can do is discharge the dye in the shirt and end up with a natural-coloured print which will be the colour of the cotton before the shirt was dyed. You can also mix the discharge base or additive with most ink colours (be sure to use the appropriate ink ) and the ink will discharge the dye, thus doing away with the need for an under-base white.

The hand is softer with discharge and part of the reason for that is the absence of an underbase white. Underbase whites tend to be laid down in a thick deposit which can then give the print a harder hand.

Another aspect of discharge printing to be kept in mind is that you need an emulsion specially formulated for discharge.

Discharge printing presents a number of creative possibilities but a BIG caution is that testing before attempting a production run is essential.

For more information on discharge printing you can make a quick call to Stanley’s Wilflex ink experts for tips and information about discharge printing. Craig in Cambridge (1 877 205 9218) and Wendy in Calgary (1 800 661 1553) will be happy to help you.

Imprint Canada’s REACH

REACH is an recent innovation by Imprint Canada that you should know about.

It’s a monthly email newsletter with “timely industry news from Canada’s source for promotional & imprintable products information.” For instance, the April edition, consists of six pages of news items and press releases. It’s a great and quick way to stay in touch with developments in the Canadian imprinted textile market.

REACH offers a free-of-charge opportunity to have your press releases or other news reach 14,000 industry professionals across Canada.

Contact information:

Going for the WOW! effect

Going for the WOW! effect

There is a good reason why getting some WOW! into your print portfolio with special effects prints.

It’s true that you won’t find too many textile screen printers that survive on printing special effects. In the Canadian market particularly, textile printers survive on the basics but that doesn’t mean that special effects don’t have a role to play.

Well done special effects can be attention getters. They can demonstrate a printer’s expertise and in that way promote customer confidence in the printer. If your customer goes “wow!” at one of your special effects prints they are going to assume that if you can do the difficult stuff that well, you must be able to handle regular printing with ease. Don’t we all make those assumptions about the goods and service providers that we deal with in our daily lives?

I’ve long maintained that the way to make an impact with special effects is to put together a nicely bound portfolio of prints. There are any number of special effects that you could include from realistic suede prints to high density creations. It would be a great advertisement for your print shop. Aside from the general positive impact it will make, you may begin to receive special effects orders.

For information on the special effects inks and bases available and the way that you can use them to create “wow!” prints, call Stanley’s ink experts: Craig in Cambridge at 1 877 205 9218; and Wendy in Calgary at 1 800 66