For the bulk of Threadbare’s beginnings, our screens have been coated and broken down with chemicals. This is an unfortunate truth for all screen printing companies. While we’ve always tried our best to minimize the harmful chemicals being used, it's seemingly impossible to make it to zero. That being said, we still continue to try!
Lucky for us, there are brands with the same mission for sustainability. One of these very brands is Ryonet. This company offers many innovative products through their website, Screenprinting.com. One such example is Sgreen® Eco-Friendlier™ products which are mainly formulated using citrus and iodine, ingredients that are much less harmful than traditional cleaners and degreasers used in this industry.
In addition to minimizing our reliance on harmful chemicals, we also store and reuse burned screens. This has both the benefits of reducing our chemical usage and reducing waste, as a transparency doesn't need to be printed and a screen doesn't need to be burned (a process that requires both electrical energy and water).
While we do our best to minimize our impact, it isn't entirely possible to step away from the chemicals used nor the waste that can ultimately be produced when working in screen printing. With new innovations, however, we have more options than we used to.
One innovation is the capability to store a screen's designs without having to store the entire screen. It sounds wacky, but it's legit. Ryonet’s Eco Screens (check out the photo below) work by providing a metal base and mesh panels which are woven into a plastic locking strip. This locking strip replaces glues, ensuring that the mechanism used to hold the mesh on the frame won’t break down over time. Additionally, the mesh used for these screens has more longevity.
This product would allow us to only need a set number of frames in our shop, meanwhile the designs themselves could be rolled up and easily stored since the mesh is removable from the frame. This would also eliminate the need for the chemicals used to strip a screen of its emulsion, a process that's necessary in order to re-coat and re-burn a screen. In addition, the materials that make up the Eco Screen film itself are recyclable, which is a great bonus!
Here are some additional links that might be helpful: