MagnaColours launches sustainability standard for textile industry

Hannah Jordan
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ink manufacturer MagnaColours has launched a new eco-friendly standard for water-based inks used in textile printing that it expects to become the global standard within 12 months.

UK-based MagnaColours, a specialist in water-based ink manufacturing, has developed the GNA mark for use by all compliant manufacturers, printers and retailers in order to push for more sustainable production methods. 

The mark is also designed to reassure consumers who buy printed textiles and apparel that no harmful products have been use in their manufacturing. Inks and products marked with GNA are guaranteed to be free of harmful chemicals such as PVC and alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO) and must be water-based formulations.

“There are so many standards on the market from people like Bluesign or Eco Passport, as well as around 50 major retailers that all have different standards, but these don’t work so well for water-based inks,” said MagnaColours executive chairman Tom Abbey.

He explained that systems like Bluedesign and Eco Passport look at production formulas and analyse CAS numbers that relate to individual chemicals. However, water-based printing ink is based mostly on polymers, which do not have CAS numbers and therefore cannot be adequately analysed. 

“We have worked out a method of testing water-based inks that we believe is going to be far more accurate and give far more information," Abbey said.

Abbey explained that MagnaColour's method, which takes place in independent laboratories, tests individual products and can guarantee there is no residual formaldehyde or APEO, for example, in the inks. The aim, he said was to adhere to the strictest Restricted Substances List (RSL) in printing inks for the textile printing industry globaly, so that GNA compliance results in compliance with all major brand's RSLs as well as other standards such as Eco Passport. 

“Most of the apparel market is moving towards banning PVC inks and people are moving to water-based inks; that’s why standards aren’t really geared towards it. We think this is a better standard for the industry," Abbey said. 

“We are trying to tie consumer, retailer, printer and ink manufacturer together to give one solution to the market. It’s about sleeping night. These people don’t know about chemical testing, they just want to know it’s clean and this standard will do that for them,” he added.

Abbey said the GNA standard was being market heavily and he anticipated it would be the majority standard for water-based inks globally within 12 months. 

Currently gaining accreditation is free but in the future Abbey said fees would likely be introduced due to the cost of the testing.

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