Embracing Environmental Responsibility in Business
In the South Sound region, a significant movement towards environmental stewardship is taking shape among local businesses. Aaron Williams, Executive Director of the Fife Milton Edgewood Chamber of Commerce, observes a growing trend in companies taking “green” initiatives. This shift is not only about environmental sustainability concerns but also offers a strategic edge in the market. “Being green can provide a competitive advantage,” Williams explains, highlighting how eco-friendly practices are increasingly influencing customer choices.
Northwest Custom Apparel: A Testament to Green Practices
Northwest Custom Apparel, a Milton-based company, is at the forefront of this green revolution. The company’s investment in a state-of-the-art Kornit digital garment-printing machine exemplifies its commitment to reducing environmental impact. This new technology, described by CEO Jim Mickelson as having “absolutely no chemical waste,” marks a significant shift from traditional screen printing, which relied heavily on chemicals and had limitations in color usage.
The Digital Printing Revolution: Eco-Friendly and Sustainable
The Kornit digital printer uses water-based inks and, due to its digital nature, reduces setup time dramatically while allowing for a wide range of colors. “This is going to revolutionize the industry, especially from an environmental standpoint,” Jim Mickelson predicts. The technology not only enhances the quality of work but also is more labor-efficient. Operations Manager Erik Mickelson notes that it requires less manpower to run than traditional screen printers.
Growth and Expansion in a Green Future
The push towards sustainable direct-to-garment printing has opened new avenues for growth at Northwest Custom Apparel. Despite a 30 percent sales drop during the pandemic, the company has rebounded and is looking to expand. Currently, with embroidery constituting 60 percent of their business and promotional items making up another significant portion, the introduction of the digital printer is expected to attract new customers and generate additional revenue.
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A Model of Sustainable Business Practice
The transition to more environmentally friendly practices by companies like Northwest Custom Apparel is not only a smart business decision but also contributes positively to the community’s ecological footprint. As Williams warns against mere “greenwashing,” the genuine efforts of companies like Northwest Custom Apparel in backing their green claims with factual evidence set a standard for others to follow.
This move towards sustainability, spearheaded by local businesses in Milton, exemplifies a responsible approach to growth and development, prioritizing both the environment and the community’s well-being.