Earth Day Week Day 4 – Chemicals
Today is day 4 of 5 in which we discuss ways to mitigate your environmental impact in a screen shop, in observance of Earth Day 2018.
Yesterday we discussed practices in your shop to minimize wasted chemicals, water, and t-shirts. Today we will round up the “Reduce” section with a look at the chemicals you are actually using.
Look at the chemicals you are using and see if there are ways you can reduce the amount you need. Many chemicals can be diluted – including emulsion removers and degreasers. Another benefit of concentrated chemicals is that it will require less to ship than ready for use chemicals. Adding the water in your location means you didn’t ship that water from a warehouse.
You can also look for chemicals that are made with environmentally friendly ingredients. Read the Safety Data Sheets that are available for the chemicals you use and look at the health and toxicity effects of the products. For example, many ghost image removers use Sodium Hydroxide (lye) to remove stains, while SPSI’s TruBlue Degreaser/Dehazer uses a non-toxic chemical to perform the same action. It is worth noting that Lye does neutralize itself in water and over time – if you have a particularly stubborn stain, with good personal protection equipment (PPE) you can use lye-based haze removers without fretting too much.
Discuss with your entire staff what the chemicals do and make sure they understand what is drain-safe and what is not. Make sure they also understand what safety precautions they need to take when using the chemicals. Ensure that you staff properly disposes of chemicals and chemical-soaked rags.
In Your Own Shop
Ultimately these are generalizations about how to reduce waste and unnecessary purchases in your shop, which is going to be different from other shops. Take some time to see how things are done and consider ways you can reduce waste, improve efficiency, and mitigate your effect on the environment.