Oregon Screen Printing is committed to being a progressive company. In addition to our own in-house reuse and recycle program, we offer environmentally and socially responsible products and services. We've been on the cutting edge of thinking green and acting globally before it was hipster mantra.
Oregon Screen Impressions has access to a huge variety of garments. We were one of the first traditional screen printers to offer progressive garment choices, including organic fabrics and sweatshop free manufacturers. Talk to one of our sales reps to discuss your options.
Traditional screen printers commonly use plastisol inks for the most part. Plastisols are made of PVC particles suspended in a plasticizer. When plastisol inks are heated to the right temperature the PVC and plasticizer essentially melt in to each other, fusing onto the garment. Plastisols will not dry out in screens and can be used and stored for extended periods of time. Plastisols offer high opacity on dark fabrics. There are downsides to plastisol as well. The PVC particles are polyvinyl chloride, and the plasticizers usually contain phthalate which is of concern to many environmentalists. In addition, harsh solvents are usually used for cleanup.
Water Based Inks: Water based inks have improved greatly in recent years, partially due to economic incentive from consumers looking for more environmentally friendly methods of production. Water based inks work best on lighter colored garments that are 100% cotton. Water based inks have a softer hand, or feel to them. You can cover a large area without getting the “raincoat effect” you may have noticed in some of your own shirts, especially on lighter weight materials. Many smaller shops can offer water based inks, but most rely on a small selection of premixed colors. Oregon Screen Impressions has the ability to offer Pantone color matching in water based inks. We've been printing with water based inks daily for years.
Discharge Inks: Sometimes newer water based inks can be used on darker colored fabrics with acceptable results if the design lends itself to a particular look. Other times a discharge base is used to leach the dye out of the fabric, returning it to it's natural off-white state. When discharge base is added to a water based ink with a color, you can get an opaque result, even on a black shirt. Because the base is added to our regular water based ink system, we can offer color matching on discharge inks too.
Non-Phthalate Plastisol: Plastisol inks have been developed that don't contain phthalates in response to European Union bans. These inks print somewhat differently than traditional plastisols, and the technology continues to improve. Oregon Screen Impressions prints with Non-Phthalate Plastisols on a daily basis.
Cleanup and Reclaiming
There's no getting around the fact that the screen printing process requires chemicals. Which chemicals and how they are used depends on the individual company. Oregon Screen Impressions invited the EPA to inspect our process when we were the first T shirt printer in the United States to automate our reclaim process in 2000. This machine segregates each step allowing us to contain the process and recycle the material before it moves to the next step. The final rinse is the only thing that goes to the drain, but this grey water is filtered first. All of this was voluntary and was driven by our commitment to the environment at any cost…not to mention the hands off human element making our dirtiest job not so bad!