Increasing the Sustainability of the Textile Industry
“Sustainability” is the general principle of minimizing the use of resources in the course of, e.g., industrial processes by preserving the natural regeneration ability of the systems involved. In the context of the printing industry, the sustainable use of raw materials like inks, chemicals and substrates but also energy and water are of high relevance. Among the different application fields, especially the textile processing industry is considered as heavily resource consuming. As almost every step of the classical, analog textile production process is requiring high water amounts, the textile industry has one of the most extensive water footprints of any industry sector and, generally speaking, high energy requirements.1
Focusing on the printing step itself, analog textile printing techniques generate high amounts of ink wastage, require the preparation, cleaning and storage of screens, do not permit short production runs and utilize high water amounts. For example, the water usage for rotary screen printing is in the region of 50-60 liters of water per meter of printed product. In contrast, digital textile printing technologies are far more sustainable than analog alternatives and pave the way towards a cleaner, more efficient and more profitable textile production approach: no ink is wasted in screens but also the water consumption is much lower. According to different market studies and by not requiring water for cleaning of the screens, pipes and rollers,2 digital textile printing saved more than 40 billion liters of water usage in the worldwide textile industry in 2018.3 The sustainable character of digital textile printing can even be further increased by using Durst Alpha Pigment Ink, which allows digital textile printing on various substrates in a one-step process avoiding complex and resource consuming pre- and posttreatment steps. Full color fastness is achieved by pure heat fixation without lengthy steam fixation or washing processes.
The textile industry has one of the most extensive water footprints of any industry sector. Converting to digital textile printing will improve the sustainability of the textile industry and will be beneficial for the environment. Durst is fully committed to providing sustainable production technologies to our customers and with the Alpha Series we have an adequate offer for improving the sustainability of the textile industry.