Special Report Could you be doing more?

Zach Pillinger, director of Bude-based Upstream Printing, believes the garment decoration industry could be doing more to help the environment and, in turn, the planet. Here, he explores how you can make a difference – and it’s easier than you might think.

make radical reforms to the impact that we are having on our planet. The textile industry collectively is responsible for more than 20% of all carbon emissions in the world and discharges a staggering amount of toxic waste water. Consumers are demanding that manufacturers and suppliers start taking responsibility for their actions. Although this may seem daunting to many and to others it may appear the changes individually we can make will have little impact when the giant emerging nations such as China and India are doing little to contribute. However the wave of change is upon us and eventually we will all be forced to think about every process in our own businesses and how we can reduce our burden on the environment. The choice is ours and it is one that we need to address now. We can claim ignorance and wait to be forced to make changes or we can start making small changes now and turn positive changes into a strong sales angle.


s individuals, and certainly as an industry, we are under unprecedented pressure to

and end up rotting in landfill for the next thousand years? Are the products that you are producing the result of short lived fashion trends which are to be worn once and then disposed of or rendered useless?

Whatever it is that your business produces when thinking about the small changes that can be made to reduce your impact on the planet one eye should be on the bigger picture of what you are trying to develop or produce as a business, because if it is a disposable fashion or promotional product then eventually the tide will turn on the marketability of that product.

But if you can change the way that product is viewed or manufactured now then you may find yourself ahead of the pack with endless sales and marketing doors open to you where they will be closing to others around.

Where to start? So, where to start? The phrases ʻcircular economyʼ and ʻfast fashionʼ are big buzz words right now and if youʼre not familiar with them then you certainly should be. We all need to be thinking about a productʼs life cycle from the beginning; can it be easily recycled? Can it be easily reused? Or does it have a short life span

Make the change We can all start to make changes in our own businesses and even the smallest changes are worth celebrating and promoting to your customers because it will all be well received.

One of Upstream’s reused cardboard boxes | 36 | July 2019

The easiest place to start with making small positive changes is around the office. Are you using reusable cups within the office for tea and coffee? If not why donʼt you get some made and branded for your own use (maybe you can do this yourself in-house) take a picture and put it on social media at the same time to highlight your positive approach to reducing waste. Are you using a water fountain? A great initiative to reduce bottled water but not so good if you are using single use plastic cups! Assign everyone with their own reusable water canteen or ceramic mug and ditch the disposables. These seem like such small changes to make but it will make your office a much more circular environment that you can be proud of. Letʼs talk recycling. Are you recycling old ink cartridges to the recycle stations found at most super markets and office supply companies? This is a very simple act that eliminates landfill waste. Do you have separate bins in the office for non- recyclable waste and one for your recyclables; paper/ card/ plastic? Recycling your general office and workshop waste is such a cheap and easy process to implement, get a couple of bins and put a simple label on each bin. Yet

Zach Pillinger, director of Upstream Printing, advocates sustainability in the workplace

another great social media post for your customers to see that you do care about the impact that you have on our planet.

The workshop space

Moving into the workshop space almost every process can be scrutinised and improved on a much wider scale but to start with letʼs take a look at the simple improvements that can be made. Modern recycling methods have increased the products that can now be recycled and these can often be materials that we do not realise can be recycled. Acetates for producing screen printing films are used in huge numbers across the industry and although not recyclable at every recycling plant these can indeed be recycled. Check with your waste provider or local council, collect them up in bulk and make the effort to ensure these are recycled and do not go to landfill. A little extra effort from all of us can make a difference on a national and

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