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Eco-Friendly Screen Printing

For decades, the majority of screen printing has been done with plastisol inks. These inks are made by mixing PVC resin and plasticizer. If used incorrectly, the dried ink can chip off of old shirts. These particles of plastic ink can find their way into the environment. Though plastisol inks have made great strides over the years, and rarely present a problem if used correctly,  there’s no class of ink more eco-friendly than water-based inks.

Water-Based Inks

Subvert City is proud to offer the use of water-based inks, which offer several advantages over plastisol inks. You are probably familiar with the look of an old T-shirt that has been washed many times. The ink starts to warp and chip off, leaving cracks in the design. This is a trademark of old plastisol inks, which sit on top of the fabric.

Water-based inks, however, dye the fabric itself. No matter how many times it’s washed, the print will remain, effectively becoming a part of the shirt itself. Since the key solvent is water, you don’t have to worry about chemicals affecting the environment.

Discharge Ink

We also use discharge ink at Subvert City. Instead of putting color on top of the fabric or dying the fabric, discharge ink actually removes dye from the fabric, creating a neutral base that pairs well with water-based inks to add a design. The result is a T-shirt design that’s softer and smoother to the touch.

Discharge ink can only be used on certain colors and types of fabric, particularly cotton fibers. But it’s a great option where applicable.

Discharge ink will fade over time, creating a very unique and popular vintage look to your custom T-shirts. Many brands and companies use this screen printing ink for creative effect. 

If you’re looking for eco-friendly screen printing in Los Angeles, think Subvert City. We offer eco-friendly water-based inks, plus discharge inks, to give you a vibrant, colorful design.