How does DTF compare
Traditional vinyl cutting produces a lot of waste, the backing sheet for the vinyl and in general as much as 60% of the actual vinyl colour being used is wasted. This is a lot and most of it is not recycled.
Large format print and cut
Print and cut methods produce even more waste, with the need to weed off unwanted cut areas and then using application tape to lift the print ready for pressing it generate more waste than cut vinyl.
Some toner transfers especially those using white toner also use an extra sheet of transfer during the application, waste toner is also rarely recycled or disposed of in the correct way.
Direct to Garment
DTG printing has less by products as no transfer sheet is used in the process. The pre-treatment used is a downside to DTG as it is laced with chemicals and the process is restricted to a few fabric blends. This means another process, like cut vinyl or print and cut vinyl is also used in conjunction with DTG as it cannot be used on all fabrics.
One of the oldest and most established textile printing methods, screen printing has got better over the years. Making the screens before printing often uses chemicals and in some cases film, reclaiming these after use also generates a lot of liquid waste that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly. Some plastisol inks contain frowned upon components and the process is not variable data. This means a screen has to be made for every single job regardless of quantity increasing the pre-press products and energy used.
Direct to Film
DTF printing in general is a very clean odourless process with only one general by-product. The single film used to transfer the ink is waste, what is quite unique about the dtf process and helps its sustainability is it only uses ink and adhesive where necessary generating only a single waste product in the process. The inks are water based, with no odour and no nasty components. Once a film is produced it requires a very short 15 second heat press to apply it and then nothing else.
Overall, the printing industry isn’t considered to be the most sustainable. Whether it’s waste, our carbon footprint or the different types of materials we use, especially in the textile printing industry they all count. Resolute are constantly introducing measures to improve the sustainability of the textile printing methods we supply, we feel our DTF (direct to film process) is quite a leap forward, our own unique measures also contribute to reducing the DTF carbon footprint.
The most common textile decoration methods are listed below, you can see whilst not perfect the DTF process scores very well. One of the main reasons is DTF negates the need for no less than five different processes, this is a massive plus and will have an overall effect on reducing not only the consumables used in decorating textiles but also the energy required during the process.
How are Resolute contributing
We recently introduced a range of DTF consumables that are OEKO-TEX and have REACH certification.
We are currently working on a project to enable the manufacture of the carrier film to be from recycled materials.
The introduction of a universal cleaning/capping solution has reduced the cleaning products required on our DTF systems by 50%.
We are converting our company vehicles to all electric, 20% are already full electric with the remaining set to be full electric before the 2030 ICE vehicle manufacturing deadline.
We offer free electric vehicle charging to anyone visiting Resolute.
Any paper used for internal printing is Xerox recycled made from 100% post consumer waste.
These are small steps but we feel everything we can do to contribute to making the textile printing process more sustainable is worth it.