(the many ways that Print Renegades tries to keep up with our responsibility to support local businesses and favor our environment in all our business decisions)
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of that community. Additionally, locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. (Studies of economic impact studies of local support can be found HERE: http://www.ilsr.org/key-studies-walmart-and-bigbox-retail/ )
We tirelessly support our fellow local businesses in any way possible because that is what we hope for all local businesses to do for us. (yeah, there might be cheaper screen printing online with some large corporate shop in middle America where their rent is 1/10th of what we pay, but how does that help the overall scheme of our local economy?) Together, with the ‘locals only’ outlook, we are what make this city so vibrant, colorful and alive.
- LOCAL BLANKS: We offer a wide variety of American and locally made blank apparel. Although most blank manufacturers charge slightly more for American made blanks (because of the higher cost of manufacturing), we not only have worked tirelessly to find locally made blanks that are well priced, but have also developed our own Print Renegades blank that is all locally made with organic cotton.
- SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES: Supporting other local businesses is one of the most important principles that Print Renegades has. Not only is most all our equipment bought from locally owned businesses, but we are also sure to source all of our supplies (including all cleaning supplies, all inks and screens) mainly from downtown LA. We love to support all the neighborhood businesses in downtown LA that have grown with over the years.
- FREE COMMUNITY PRINTING CLASSES: We occasionally hold FREE screen-printing classes to our local community, allowing a wide range of individuals (from the creative student to the retired grandfather) to come to our shop and learn different elements of screen-printing for free. Each of these attendees are able to learn from a hands-on approach, practicing it and doing it themselves, plus they all leave with a customized piece of apparel that they printed themselves during the class.
- ANTI-SWEATSHOP POLICY: Print Renegades supports high standards for manufacturing labor conditions that we choose to support. We constantly refer to the Workers Right Consortium and Free2Work websites to check up on companies and organizations that we choose to support, to assure that their standards are on par with ours. Accordingly, we seek to work with suppliers who promote such standards within their operations. We rely upon referrals, reputation and, in some cases, personal inspections to identify such vendors.
- CHARITIBLE DONATIONS: Print Renegades is an avid supporter of artist and music-based charities. We make sure that the donations that we give support the industry that we are in, helping other artists and musicians to excel.
- RESIDENT ARTIST PRINT PROGRAM: Print Renegades will soon begin its Resident Artist Print Program: a program where we bring an artist to Los Angeles, put them up in their own residence, and allow that artist to use our entire studio to create something that they envision, using the resources that we provide. We will then hold a monthly art show, showcasing the item(s) that they created during their time here. All proceeds of the sale of these goods will be donated to a charity to promote art and music in our community.
Many of our decisions have dramatic and lasting effects that most of the time, we don’t even realize. In conjunction with the core business of Print Renegades, we constantly strive to expand the environmental consciousness in our process from start to finish. It’s so easy, in any industry, to cut corners and let the finances influence our decisions (since its usually cheaper to not be eco-friendly). We don’t let laziness trump our true desire to do all that we can as a company and individuals to do our part for the planet.
- ECO-PRINTING: If environmental impact is important to you, we have a wide range of options for you. While it is possible to produce full color images using waterbased or discharge inks, it may undermine your goals of achieving the most ecofriendly apparel option. Achieving the greenest product can be accomplished by remembering that LESS IS MORE eco-friendly, especially when it comes to the amount of ink used. We suggest printing less than 4 colors, and keeping your images at smaller standard sizes. Large or oversized prints can result in excess ink and spillage during the printing process.
- OSHA and CPSIA STANDARDS: We are up to date on all regulatory safety standards that regulate lead content in all the inks that we use. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act outlines the mandate about lead content in the ink for children under age 12, and also toddlers ages 3 and under. We are aware of all of these regulations and comply with then fully.
- PHTHALATE and PVC FREE INKS: Oil based plastisol inks came out on the market decades ago and just took the industry by storm: mostly because of their low cost, ease of use, super long shelf life and speed of drying. Unfortunately most of these inks contain harmful chemicals and additives that are not good for our environment, or the end user. We have made the move to phthalate free plastisol inks in our shop to be able to give the client the option to still use these inks (given that some of their qualities are good) but have the higher end environmentally friendly versions of them.
- RAG RECYCLING PROGRAM: Because of our overuse of rags in our shop, we have begun a rag recycling program, wherein all shirt misprints that we have in our shop become shop test shirts, where we test print all over the entire shirt (inside and out). Once the shirt is filled up with prints, we cut it up into pieces and they become rags. Each rag has a different stage of its usage in the shop, until it becomes defunct. All defunct rags are saved, donated and ultimately used to create fabric again.
- BOX RECYCLING PROGRAM: We aim to reuse every box that comes into our shop for packaging and shipping customer’s orders. While we would love to have custom-printed boxes emblazoned with our Print Renegades logo, we would be throwing away as many as 30 boxes per week (that’s over 1500 boxes a year!!). We believe that reusing the boxes that are used to ship us blank shirts is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint as well as resolve our packaging needs.
- SOY BASED CLEANERS: Unfortunately, the standards in the screen-printing industry have been set to using harsh chemicals for the cleaning and reclaiming, and this is not good. Because of this, we have switched over to primarily soy-based ink and screen cleaners, along with soy based emulsion and haze removers as well. This has been done because we really got sick of worrying about what those chemicals were doing not only to our earth, but also to our own skin and lungs. Our choice to use alternative enviro-cleaners has been made for the good of everyone.
- ECO BLANK APPAREL: We offer a wide variety of very eco-friendly blank garments for our clients: from 50/50 blend garments to 100% organic cotton tees, apparel made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, hemp, bamboo and a range of other eco-friendly materials. With the wide array of blank apparel that we offer, we can always find something that meets your standards.
- YEARLY TREE PLANTING: We have always wanted to bring our team together to do something of change, and this year we will be embarking on our very first company tree-planting day. Every employee in the company comes out, we spend an entire day planting trees that help offset our carbon emission output and thru this, and every year that we embark on this journey, we will help offset our carbon footprint.
- UPCOMING PROGRAMS: We are always trying to expand our resource programs and always trying to be at the top of our game with putting the earth as #1. Currently in our shop, we are working on water recycling program (where all water in our shop is recycled and reused, reducing the amount of waste water we have) and a solar panel project (where our shop will run 100% off of solar power). These projects are in the works here at Print Renegades.