Sustainable Solutions for Apparel Decoration


Join us for a deep dive into practical sustainability solutions for the apparel industry in this enlightening episode featuring Cassie Green from the Apparelist and special guest Gary Jones, VP of Environmental, Health, and Safety Affairs at Printing United Alliance. Cassie shares invaluable insights and research-backed strategies for reducing environmental impact in apparel decoration businesses. From small yet impactful changes to comprehensive approaches, Cassie and Gary provide actionable steps to help decorators navigate the path to sustainability with confidence. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover valuable resources and take your business towards a greener future.

Our Success Group

Our regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants, lectures, or selling. 2 Regular Guys was not created for our employers but rather for our industry. Since February 2013, The 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened-to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will improve your business and our industry. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list, and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews, and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!

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Dad Joke

Aaron: I can cut a piece of wood in half just by looking at it.

You might not believe me, but I saw it with my own eyes.

Sustainable Solutions

Aaron: Welcome in. As you might know, we gave up reading bios a while ago because we would rather learn about you from you. Can you both briefly share a little about yourselves and how you came to the industry?

Terry: For Cassie: Can you provide an overview of the current state of sustainability in the apparel industry?

o   According to the EPA, the main source of textiles in municipal solid waste (MSW) is discarded clothing, although other smaller sources include furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and other nondurable goods such as sheets and towels.

o   92 million tons of textiles waste is produced every year. shares that in America alone, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste – equivalent to 85% of all textiles – end up in landfills on a yearly basis.

O The good: We’re starting to see so many companies make progress: Marine Layer, Everywhere Apparel, Living Ink (making ink out of algae), Allmade, S&S’s Giveback Box program, etc.

Aaron: For Gary: From your perspective, what are some common environmental challenges faced by apparel decorators?

  • There are three areas of concern for decorators:
    • The manufacturing process and this includes requirements such as air permits, wastewater discharges, hazardous waste management and OSHA compliance. 
    • The input materials being used and this includes ensuring that customer guidelines are being met with respect to the ingredients. The recent bans and proposed bans on certain chemicals are having a greater influence on the choice of materials. 
    • The finished product and this includes the substrate and the ultimate fate of the finished product. 

Terry: For Both: What are some practical steps that apparel decorators can take to reduce their environmental impact without major overhauls?

O There are the typical things like replacing all your lightbulbs, recycling and/or reusing boxes and packaging materials, implementing low-flow toilets and sinks, etc. I’ve seen other shops reuse and repurpose their old screens.

But shops should also be aware of what products they’re buying and selling to their customers (are they recycled cotton/poly); also notify customers of giveback programs.

FUNdamentals LIVE - June 7-8th.

Aaron: For Cassie: How do you see sustainability trends evolving within the apparel industry, and what opportunities do they present for decorators?

Terry: For Gary: Could you highlight some key regulatory considerations or guidelines that decorators should be aware of regarding sustainability?

  • The emerging legislation that is focused on accountability is quickly becoming a reality. For example, greenhouse gas emission reporting by CA, SEC, and the EU. 
  • Green marketing claims and the threat of being sued or meeting new legislative requirements such as the one passed in CA. 
  • Extended Producer Responsibility is now being considered for textiles and garments along with legislation directed at brands to force action on greenhouse gas emission reductions, chemical management, and forced labor and working conditions.
  • Bans on “fast fashion” that are emerging in the EU, especially France. 
  • The release of microplastics has also been tied to the laundering of textiles and garments..  

Terry: For Both: What are some misconceptions or myths about sustainability in the apparel industry that you’d like to debunk?

  • Sustainability is always a problem and a cost. This is not necessarily accurate as there are many actions that can be taken to reduce operating costs which translate into profits. Being a sustainable operation also provides for a competitive advantage for those customers who are demanding it. 
  • Sustainability will help attract and maintain workers, especially the younger generation. For example Gen Z has internalized environmental issues and will make purchasing decisions and employment choices that includes sustainability as a major factor. 

Aaron: For Both: Cassie, you pointed out to us as we were planning this episode that April is Earth Month, so what a great time with April knocking on the door for all of us to be thinking about sustainability. What advice would you give to decorators who are just starting their journey towards sustainability?

  • I would strongly encourage the first step to take is to develop metrics. A critical part of being able to have credibility and transparency is the ability to demonstrate how the facility has been able to reduce their burden on the environment and help protect their community. 

Terry: Cassie, we know you have covered this topic extensively in the Apparelist, plus we understand you have compiled a list of people and sites that would be helpful for the Regulators. Where can people find that?


Beyond Green: Exploring the Multifaceted Realm of Sustainability in Printing

Real-Life Implications of Sustainability in the Decorated Apparel Community

Video: The Cold Hard Truth About Sustainability

Changing the Mindset: How to ‘Walk the Walk’ on the Sustainability Journey

The Secret Sauce

We serve up bite-sized tips for our #regulators to instantly spice up their decorated apparel business. Just like the perfect wing sauce, these quick tips can transform your business experience, adding flavor and depth to your operations. Each video in this playlist is a nugget of wisdom, carefully selected for its potential to bring immediate value to your work. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started in the decorated apparel industry, dip into our ‘Secret Sauce’ for insights that can help you soar. Remember, the right tip at the right time can be just the secret ingredient you need for success.


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