Sustainable sublimation printing

There are many different ways to transfer ink to clothing. From embroidery, sublimation, screen printing to DTG printing, dyeing and decals, everything! But how friendly are these processes to the environment? In this article, we will specifically discuss sublimation! Is dye sublimation printing sustainable and environmentally friendly? Let us find out.

dye sublimation printing

dye sublimation printing

Different from traditional printing solutions, Dye Sublimation printing is an extremely “green-friendly” printing technology. In the dye-sub printing process, no toxins, thus protecting workers and the environment. The dye sublimation ink turns into gas via the heat transfer process, and the printed fabrics are completely safe to touch and handle.

Today, most polyester fabrics made by dye sublimation printing. Coming from a combination of “post-industrial” and “post-consumer” recycled plastic products, thus further protecting the environment. For customers seeking a 100% green-friendly product, there is no doubt that sublimation printing is your best solution.

Today environmental-friendly and sustainable practices are more important than ever to protect the earth. Responsible businesses can help by continuing to use green-friendly products such are those produced using dye sublimation printing.

What Is Dye-sublimation Printing?

Firstly, Dye Sublimation printing is a chemical process that imprints a design onto a garment through a chemical reaction. This involves turning a solid to a gas (without turning it to a liquid in between, thus no water system pollution). fusing the design onto the fabric, thereby creating a lasting imprint.

Dye sublimation is simple to do and creates bright, vivid designs that can be printed all over the fabric. This gives you the ultimate freedom when you’re creating your design. And that’s why it’s a favorite and a regularly used technique in the fashion and art world.

sustainable dye sublimation

sustainable dye sublimation

What textiles can use dye sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing gets the best results on synthetic materials – such as polyester. This is due to a number of different factors. The most important reason is because of the high temperatures of heat press, we can heat transfer dye from printed paper to the fabrics. Fabrics, such as nylon, can’t withstand the heat and will end up melting during the process due to the high temperatures.

However, on other materials, such as cotton, and other natural fabrics, the results won’t look as bright and may eventually fade and look dull over time.

Dye-sublimation printing no means limited to garments. It can also be suitable for excellent branding items such as banners, home decorations, bags, fabric napkins, mugs, and so on.

Is Sublimation Printing Sustainable and Environmental-Friendly?

You may be surprised to know that one of the major benefits of sublimation printing is its level of safety for both the environment and the worker. In fact, it is the most friendly-environmental and sustainable method of garment printing and production currently being used today.

The dyes are safe and not in any way harmful. Printers usually opt for using CYMK, so the result is that thedye sublimation printing process only uses a minimal amount of dye sublimation inks.

Amazingly, dye sublimation printing creates absolutely zero waste.

sublimation ink

sublistar sublimation ink

Sublimation ink eco-friendly

Sublistar sublimation ink is a “green” water-based ink, less harmful to the environment than a solvent-based ink.

There are no solvents in any sublimation ink products. Eliminating the use of solvents has been proven to be good for the environment. Solvents have been linked to the production of ozone and to the increase in smog production. Smog contributes to poor air quality which can have a harmful effect on both humans and vegetation. Some solvents have also been linked to global warming.

Many solvents are also toxic to humans. The volatile organic compounds in solvent-based inks can cause fumes which can be unhealthy for those who work with the ink.  The VOC-free nature of a water-based ink also provides a safer work environment for production employees and eliminates the need for concern about things like personal exposure limits. Sublimation inks that are solvent-free are the smarter choice both for the health of the person printing with the ink and for the Earth as a whole.

Sublimation paper usage eco-friendly

So sublimation transfer printing is great on the water system, But what about paper usage?

Dye-sublimation printing requires a special type of paper with a coating layer, to absorb and hold the sublimation ink. Since you need a paper for every design you transfer, and every time you transfer a design, you can end up using a lot of paper! However, You can recycle your sublimation paper. You can do this by either making sure you are using as much of the paper as possible, not allowing the much-unused paper to go to waste. There are other ways of reusing and recycling your paper, such as reusing the paper for packaging filler, recycling the paper, or even finding other uses for your paper!

Protective tissue paper eco-friendly

If you’re familiar with dye-sublimation printing, then chances are you’ve used protective tissue paper before. I mean, I regularly use tissue paper to protect both heat press and substrates while pressing.

You can recycle tissue paper along with your other recyclables. This way, you can rest easy knowing your sublimation process is eco-friendly.

sublimation printer

Energy usage sublimation eco-friendly

The heat press will require the most energy and electricity during the sublimation process, and may turn you off to the whole sublimation is an eco-friendly idea.

Depending on the size of your heat-press, the energy use will vary. Obviously, smaller heat presses will require less energy will larger heat presses require more. It’s not the most surprising thing in the world.

You run your fridge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your heat press should only be running for a few hours a day!

So long as you make sure to run your heat-press only when you need to, you can help cut back on the amount of energy you need to run your sublimation business!

Our Sublistar dye-sublimation printer also uses less power when printing, which means you can print with near-instant readiness and zero ozone emissions.

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