There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about taking on greener practices and a call to be more aware of the screen printing industry’s often negative impact on the environment. At Ryonet, we’ve been quick to adopt these mindsets and have taken a strong stance in the market as a developer and retailer of more eco-friendly, green products. But earth-consciousness and saving the environment one screen reclamation at a time, while undeniably important, isn’t what got me onto this path.
So here it is. The real reason Ryonet cares so much about green products. My one and only green pulpit speech.
One of my screen printing mentors was Marv; whom you can still see on many of our old YouTube videos including the Ryonet Pocket Pro and the Low Rider Dryer video.
Marv was a big dude and an industry vet. He had his way of doing things and that way involved using “a ton of the good products that got the job done”. Marv grew up in a screen printing production shop, using solvents to clean and produce screen prints like they were going out of style.
I always hated when he went on a cleaning frenzy before class because the whole shop smelled so bad, like screen opener. He went through cases of it.
It was a running joke at first, but as his health deteriorated, his doctor attributed his failing liver to years of use of these products; accentuated by an unhealthy lifestyle. His attitude completely changed about the use of these products, and he became an advocate for greener/sustaining products like pallet glue, eco washes, and water based inks.
One of my last conversations with him pertained to writing an article and doing some industry videos bringing these important factors to the forefront of the industry.
Unfortunately, we never got around to doing this. Marv died in December of 2013 after completing an installation and training with one of his first Ryonet clients and friends Sasan, from One In A Million, as Sasan upgraded his shop to a new ROQ. His passing was a total shock and unexpected.
His girlfriend at the time, Coleen Atkinson, shared this with us:
“Marv has been dealing with liver issues due to the chemicals he worked with most of his life. He was told last year that his liver was okay, and he could expect to live a long life without liver issues. He started vomiting blood on Friday morning the 20th. He had a procedure to bypass his liver which was supposed to take the pressure off the veins surrounding his stomach; however he never recovered after the procedure. His body went into multi-organ failure and was taken off life support on the 26th. He was surrounded by friends, and I never left his side. Please know he was loved and held until the end.”
Since his death, I have made it my mission to bring to life the need for greener products and business practices in the industry. Three years later, we have unveiled a full line of eco-friendly and printer-conscious chemicals, brought easy to clean water based inks back into the spotlight, and spread the word about the importance of greener printing everywhere.
Invest in protective gear. Watch out for your employees and people who come in contact with chemicals daily. Choose eco-friendly options and green products whenever possible. There’s a long way to go, but if every screen printer does his and her part, I believe we can prevent deaths and illnesses like Marv’s and make the whole industry a safer and better place to work.