Organic T Shirt Printing: should be just that, we have excellent T-shirt suppliers who deliver a sustainable organic product to us. We believe it would be wrong to add PVC to these environmentally friendly T-shirts. We screen print with water based inks, and we no longer use plastic film positives to make our screens.

Pthalate free inks are certainly an improvement on older plastisol inks, but still contain PVC. Is your “environmentally friendly” screen printer using plastic inks? You may be surprised by the answer. Tons of plastic enters the environment every year on the front of T-shirts. It is not recyclable.

Mira design Illustration - Organic T shirt printers

Organic Textiles<


Choosing Inks and Print Styles

Waterbased Screen Printing Inks

Waterbased Ink

A water based ink is made up of pigment, resin, and water. Other additives such as anti foam, and surfactants are also used. They are not entirely harmless/neutral in their make up. But they avoid the use of PVC, and solvents.

Water based inks are biodegradable, and if dealt with in the correct way, will release less harmful toxins into the environment than the plastisol alternative. When printing on to lighter coloured materials with darker pigments the resulting prints do not require excessive amounts of energy to fully cure.

Discharge Printing

The drawback with a water based ink is its lack of opacity, and one solution to this problem is discharge printing. Bleaching the colour out of the garment, before applying your water based dyes. This process requires higher temperatures in the conveyor dryer, but it does not require any flash curing on the press. The energy used to flash dry between applied colours when printing plastisol inks is significant, and in our opinion plastic inks should not be promoted as needing less energy to cure.

Note: Discharge works best on 100% cotton garments. For other fabric compositions, it’s a good idea to get in touch with complete details of your requirements so that we can offer guidance.

Discharge Screen Printing - mixing inks

Clean environment for Organic T shirt printing

Other Factors

Good management of water based inks is an important part of preventing waste. All waste ink is collected by a waste management company, and dealt with by experts. We do not wash ink down drains. Other waste streams such as cardboard, and plastics are recycled.

We use re-tensionable screen frames, this can increase the life of a screen mesh by many times, and the meshes can be easily renewed in house. Saving on screen mesh, and transportation.

We promote the use of, and give ideas for imaginative use of black ink. We consider a black water based screen print to be one of the most energy efficient ways of decorating an organic T-shirt.

Organic t shirt printing - Illustration by Jimp.