Earth Day Week Day 1 – Purchasing Decisions
Today is day 1 of 5 in which we discuss ways to mitigate your environmental impact in a screen shop, in observance of Earth Day 2018.
Every year, Earth Day acts as a time for us to stand back and consider the ways what we do impacts the environment – and ways to reduce our environmental impact. Textile production and decoration is known to be particularly bad on the environment, so let’s look at a few ways we can mitigate our damage.
While we all remember the three Rs of the environment, we often forget that they go in order of “reduce, reuse, recycle” because the best option is at the front. So most importantly, how can we reduce waste and product used?
Every time you purchase a new piece of equipment or new supplies, you are consuming product. By reducing how often you have to buy a new product, you are reducing your consumption. This is not to say that you should never buy anything again, but when you do end up buying something – buy smart.
A good rule of thumb to use here is:
- Only get it if you need it.
- If you need it, get the best you can afford that suits your current and future needs.
- When you’ve decided on your budget, look for the most environmentally-friendly option.
So say you’re in the market for a new exposure unit, with a budget of $5,000. You’re a textile printer who only occasionally does halftones so you don’t really need a high-end single point exposure unit. So you end up with two options – either a fluorescent light system for $2,000 or an LED system for $3,000. While you may have paid more upfront, you will end up ahead because you don’t have to replace bulbs, your electricity cost will be lower, and your exposures will be significantly faster. Plus, LEDs don’t require special disposal like fluorescent bulbs do.
If you are considering reducing supplies – consider the packaging used for your supplies. Say you go through 100 gallons a year of white ink, and purchase in single gallons. That’s 100, one gallon buckets you bought. Instead, think about purchasing your ink in volume – 5 gallon or even 30 gallon buckets will last you a longer amount of time, save money, and use less packaging. Just be sure you have single-gallon buckets to transfer your ink into. If, however, you use a gallon of emulsion every 6 months you probably should stick to buying quarts or gallons so you don’t end up dumping expired product.
Small decisions like buying the product you need, or foregoing a small amount of convenience to create less waste, are going to accumulate and create a large impact. Tomorrow we will discuss your screen press and utility considerations.