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7 Ways To Make Tattooing Environment-Healthy
It’s no secret that in an interconnected world like ours, everything has an impact on the environment. From driving to playing tennis, there are a hundred different schools of thought on how we can be more eco-conscious.
While it may seem overwhelming, the most important thing you can do is to try your best. When you learn that there’s an alternative way to do something that requires one percent more effort, but yields a benefit to the earth, take the plunge! Who knows? You may inspire others to do the same.
If there’s a better, more sustainable way to do everything, you may wonder how tattooing can become sustainable. We have a few ideas. Before we dive in, don’t be alarmed—this isn’t anti-tattoo propaganda. We’re simply offering suggestions on how an established industry can change a few things to help the planet. Read on to learn seven ways to make tattooing environmentally healthy.
The Environmental Impact of Tattoos
The biggest problem area for tattoos is that the most commonly used inks are toxic. It’s a standard practice that ink manufacturers include heavy metals to finish out the production process, from mercury to arsenic to cadmium. Cadmium isn’t exactly a household name, but it’s among the most toxic metals on the periodic table, and it’s tough to find red tattoo ink without it.
On top of that, the Food and Drug Administration says that tattoo inks can be used as car paint or printer ink—not something many people want in their bodies.
As if metal wasn’t enough, many inks also include plastic and animal fat in the form of glycerin. Some black ink even includes animal bone to achieve the dark pigment.
If you thought tattoos were bad, the tattoo removal process is also a problem. Tattoo removal requires a greenhouse gas with worse environmental effects than carbon dioxide, although some clinics are switching to liquid carbon dioxide instead.
Now we reach the real question: what can we do about tattooing’s environmental impact? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to counteract the negative effects of tattooing.
Tattooing, like any other industry, has an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality. When new tools are introduced to the tattooing scene, old ones become obsolete, especially if your studio is at the cutting edge. While it may be easier to toss the old tools out with the used latex gloves, you can make the effort and recycle them, instead.
Many electronics are recyclable, so try to recycle your waste before throwing it into the dumpster. Oftentimes, a quick internet search of recycling stations in the area will let you know what can be recycled and what should be discarded.
Not all tattoo studios are on the cutting edge. If your shop is fortunate enough to access the latest technology, consider donating your old tools to studios in your area that aren’t as well-off. Smaller tattoo shops will be more than happy to take old machines off your hands.
Ally With Other Tattoo Studios
Every industry comes with competition, but it can do more harm than good. You may want to team up with other tattoo studios in your area to increase the impact you have on the environment. You can reach a better economy of scale by buying more products at once, reducing the need for trucks to ship multiple batches of goods to different locations.
You can also take the opportunity to share any eco-friendly activities your studio does that the other shops can adopt!
Avoid Toxic Materials
There are several options for eco-friendly tattoo inks you can use in your shop. While the majority of inks use heavy metals, there are a few companies doing their best to change the status quo.
In addition, every tattoo studio needs its share of cleaning products. It isn’t difficult to opt for green cleaners, and the environment will thank you for the effort! This can also help inspire goodwill in your clients—when people see you taking steps to help the planet, they’re more likely to come back as repeat customers.
Encourage Green Commuting
Everyone has to get to work somehow! Try to organize with your employees to carpool or take public transportation to the studio. You can offer incentives to employees that take these steps—every bit helps. Making these changes can also save you money on parking, whether you rent a lot or pay to park on the road.
Revamp Your Studio
A classic piece of advice for saving energy at home can easily translate to a tattoo studio. Simple changes like turning off lights when you leave a room help the planet and reduce your electric bill. You may want to consider eco-friendly lighting like LEDs that use much less power than incandescent bulbs.
Who Needs Paper?
Going paperless is an eco-friendly technique that’s been adopted by hundreds of companies—and it works! Receipts and other traditional paper handouts aren’t really necessary anymore. If you don’t feel comfortable taking them away completely, you can simply offer customers the option to receive a receipt through email or text.
Most people don’t want a physical receipt, anyway—you’re doing them and the environment a favor!
Choose Reusable Materials
It’s no secret that you can’t reuse ink, but there are materials you can use sustainably in the tattooing industry. For example, you can pick up reusable tattoo ink cups in various types and sizes! You can also take reusability into the break room. Instead of buying disposable cups, plates, and utensils, opt for washable dishes you can reuse in perpetuity.
Now that you understand how to make tattooing environmentally friendly, we hope you’ll join the good fight and take steps to a greener tomorrow. You don’t need to adopt every suggestion on this list—start small and work your way toward bigger changes. Many hands make light work, and your effort may influence others to follow in your footsteps.
Whether you revamp your whole studio or simply try harder to reuse and upcycle your equipment, we see the work you’re doing, and we thank you.
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