Whenever a client purchases products from us, they are making a decision to go green while making a statement about how they want their business or university to impact the earth. For some clients this is a big step, while for others, going green is already in their veins.
Mantis Graphics, Inc. is one of these clients. They strive to supply the highest quality apparel possible, while reducing their environmental footprint. On top of selling Eco-friendly apparel, their green philosophy includes extensive recycling and reusing, energy conservation, rain barrel water collection and the exclusive use of safe materials – among others. We are happy to highlight Mantis for this week’s Featured Client.
-Gerri Weiner, Founder, Green Promotional Items
From Kim Hackworth, Director of Sales and Marketing, Mantis Graphics, Inc.:
Today, many companies are busy ‘green washing’ or changing their practices and products from harmful to environmentally responsible. Since opening our doors in 1996, Mantis Graphics has been green, using screenprinting techniques and inks that are safe for the environment and safe for you. Over the last 15 years, we have followed and employed the latest techniques and products on our quest to deliver high quality products and protect our planet.
Phthalates are bad and here’s why…
The majority of screen printing companies use plastisol ink because they are simple to use, inexpensive and durable. Unfortunately, and unbeknown to the common t-shirt wearer, plastisol inks contain PVC and phthalates that destroy the environment and have been associated with many medical issues including cancer, mental disorders, and infertility.
Mantis offers Water-Based, Soy-Based and Non-Phthalate Plastisol Inks
Water-based ink contains neither PVC’s nor phthalates. Their ingredients are non-toxic, lead-free and do not contain any heavy metals. As such, they are safe for use on infant clothing, underwear and swimsuits. We get our best results printing these inks on lighter colored garments.
Water-based inks contain no ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFC’s and HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents. Instead of dangerous solvents, water-based inks wash out easily and safely with water.
Additionally, the industry standard for cleaning screens and press equipment of plastisol inks call for environmentally harmful, petroleum based chemicals.
Mantis Graphics has not used these harmful cleaning chemicals during our 16 years in business, opting instead for soy-based cleaners.
Soy-based ink by One Stroke Ink is a powerful solution for the printing industry’s environmental, health and safety concerns. Soybeans are a renewable energy source that is widely available at low cost – only 0.5 percent of the total energy used in agriculture is needed to produce soy ink. We get our best results using these inks on light and dark colored garments.
Soy ink is naturally low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds, chemical compounds that evaporate and react to sunlight) and its usage actually reduces emissions causing air pollution. Even more important for the screen printing business, the waste is not considered hazardous and can be treated more easily, completely and cost-effectively than other inks.
Non-Phthalate Plastisol Ink
Mantis Graphics also uses non-phthalate plastisol inks, ensuring that our screenprinting products are safer for you and the environment. Phthalate alternative inks do not contain harmful chemicals that have been linked with a wide range of medical issues – both as a result of direct contact and the phthalate waste and by-products being released into our water and landfill systems. While California recently passed strict restrictions on the use of phthalates in products made for children, we are proud to say we have been dedicated to safeguarding the entire family and the planet for the last 15 years.
Mantis Uses Soy-Based Screen Cleaners
Since 1996, Mantis Graphics has used the soy-based solvents line from Franmar Chemical, a world leader in developing revolutionary products that work far better, safer and easier than traditional chemicals, using homegrown soybean oils-100% U.S. grown. Not only do we feel great about using an environmentally-safe product, the Franmar line is also comparable to its toxic counterparts in price because it requires no hefty chemical waste clean-up, reducing impact and cost for all.
Organic vs. Conventional Cotton
Organic apparel printing offers another environmentally-friendly screen printing method. Using organic cotton that is grown with safe, non-toxic, non-chemical pest repellants such as manure and herbs, protects the ground, our food, and all animals – including humans.
Meanwhile, conventional cotton is one of the most widely-manufactured and pesticide treated fibers today. Conventional cotton is grown with toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers that remain on the fibers even when they are manufactured into wearable apparel. These chemicals have been scientifically-proven to negatively affect health.
In the United States:
- Nearly 10% of all pesticides sold for use in agriculture were applied to cotton in 1997. ACPA
- Over 2.03 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were applied to conventional cotton in 2000 (142 pounds/acre), making cotton the fourth most heavily fertilized crop behind corn, winter wheat, and soybeans. USDA
- Almost one-third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers are used to grow enough conventional cotton for a single T-shirt. SCP
- The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, trifluralin). EPA
Things that make us green…
- Our Water Filtration System from Blackline, utilizes a dual-tank design to trap ink and emulsion solids before they reach the outflow and harm the environment. (if you’re considering another screenprinter, I encourage you to ask them about their emulsion and ink removal methods and what is going down their drain.)
- Whenever we ship a box via UPS, we purchase carbon offsets for each package, at no extra cost to our customer.
- We constantly reduce our energy usage with practices such as installing light sensors, adding new ballasts and replacing all light bulbs for energy efficiency.
- We recently converted to a tankless hot water heater.
- Our company vehicle is a Toyota Highlander Hybrid and we use scooters & bicycles to get around town and commute to work (when weather permits, this is New England after all).
- Extensive recycling, reusing and reducing our footprint.
- Rain barrel water collection for flower and plant watering.
- Extensive reusing of cardboard shirt boxes (they may not look perfect, but we’re trying to save the planet).
- Recycling empty embroidery spools and anything else possible for local school art projects.
- Employ a paper tape machine and never use plastic tape.