Happy Earth Day! April 22nd has been the annual day since some folks started it in 1970. After witnessing the terrible Santa Barbara oil spill Senator Gaylord Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media. He persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date. An estimated 22 million folks came out that first Earth Day which is now an international event.
Hopefully Earth Day just brings a little extra focus on environmental issues and isn’t the only time you think about the environmental impact of what you do.
Here are some random easy things you can do to improve the environmental focus of your shop:
- You can’t make your customers use organic cotton garments but you can encourage them and at least be aware of what is available. Organic cotton makes sense on many levels, do a little research and educate yourself. These suppliers are all certified real deal organic suppliers of garments: Econscious, Anvil Organic, American Apparel, and SanMar. While they all have sustainable products, Econscious in particular is a full line of green garments, hats and bags.
- When you do use polyester in your garments, look for recycled content. Hanes, Champion, Econscious, American Apparel and SanMar all have major programs to use recycled polyester.
- Get some no bullshite advice from the companies you buy your chemicals from and do the best you can while still getting the job done for screen cleaning. KIWO and Saati are two great resources for accurate information.
- Even if you don’t go entirely to bulk adhesive, at least use it sometimes to cut down on your use of aerosol cans. We use albatross bulk adhesive.
- Some practical things that save money, save time and are just plain common sense environmentally: Don’t mix more ink than you need, carefully mix your inks so you don’t make ink that never gets used, get a program that allows you to mix colors from already mixed inks (we use Rutland‘s system,) and put your used ink back in the bucket. Keep a clean shop and make good screens so you don’t need to use so much shoot out fluid.
- Reuse and/or recycle all the cardboard boxes you get.
- Check out Marshall Atkinson’s blog as he has great ideas on sustainability.
Some photos from the first Earth Day follow. The guy in the first one is Denis Hayes who was the original organizer and still works on Earth Day International.