How Eco Friendly is Digital Printing?

Digital printing or any kind of manufacturing and its environmental impact will always be polarizing topics. However, how eco-friendly are they really?

Can we truly say that the (Digital) Printing industry has some sort of environmental care or awareness? Is it just a marketing trend and gimmick or is there some truth to it?

Let’s lay down some facts regarding the digital textile printing industry:

(this list is not exhaustive)

  1. Since there are no plates or screens that are needed to produce/print the products, that means that A LOT LESS material is needed and therefore, wasted afterwards.
  2. Dyeing of textile fibres requires tonnes of water for each product to be produced, digital printing tackles this in two ways. It allows products to be printed on-demand (only when they are needed) and on the other hand, it prints directly onto the fabric, optimizing the area that gets the ink, therefore less waste.
  3. The inks used in digital printing are usually water-based and Azo dye-free.
  4. Any paper that is needed along the production stage has already been recycled or can easily be recycled at the end of the production process by any recycling company, without the need for special handling.
  5. Recyclable or recycled fabrics are commonly used to produce products like garments, home products and accessories.
  6. Digital printing machinery takes a lot of beating and it usually lasts many years with only minor maintenance and care, they also reduce fabric waste, power, inks and water consumption. (There is no water usage on digital printing) They also produce far less CO2.
  7. This form of printing allows you to downcycle or upcycle most of its products and raw materials.
  8. No chemicals are used throughout the entire production process.
  9. Digital printing reduces the inventory of raw materials and packaging.
  10. The overall footprint of digital printing is a lot smaller than other printing methods.

Final conclusions

After doing some research and weighing the pros and the cons, we concluded that digital printing is indeed more eco-friendly than other printing methods/processes.

Not just greener, but also more cost-effective for both parties, client and supplier. Now, there might be a few odd cases where this doesn’t apply, but, in general, this seems to be the consensus from people around the world wide web.

As of the writing of this article the top digital printing industries are as follow: North America Europe China Japan The first one didn’t surprise us but the second and the third did. It wasn’t long ago that China had the second-largest printing market in the world, now overtaken by Europe.

Since these markets are only expected to grow and expand rapidly it is to expect further R&D investment on all things ECO that are related to this industry, which can only be good for everyone involved in the industry, but mainly to the environment.

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