America's Greenest T-Shirt Company™ Just got Greener!
By now you probably know quite a bit about The Mountain®, like the fact:
• That we create, develop, dye, print in Marlborough, NH and ship from Keene, NH USA. Which makes our carbon footprint much smaller than most companies dyeing and printing overseas. It also allows us a very quick turn-around time for getting shirts to you, our customers.
• That more than 80% of the cotton in our shirts is grown in the USA
• That we use Organic Reactive Dyes to create our dye library of over 600 colors
• We use waterbase inks to create the amazing soft feel to our prints (99.5% of other T-Shirt printers use petroleum based ink to create their designs on apparel)
• Our shirts are 100% preshrunk cotton (even the thread that holds it together is cotton). If washed according to our label instructions, in cold water, not only will your shirt stay at the same size as when you purchased it, but also the print will remain vibrant for years to come.
• Our commitment to the environment is in our bones, it's part of The Mountain's Collective Consciousness read more We believe that Fair Trade starts at home by taking good care of our employees and their families.
However our most ambitious project to date is complete and is now making history.
They said it couldn't be done for reactive dyes; but we have always found a way of making the impossible, possible.
Jeffrey Grosner, VP of Operations at The Mountain® working with a team of Yankee ingenuity dreamers, inventors and engineers built a Dye Oxidation System (DOS) that cleans our waste dye water without the use of any chemical. It's truly mind blowing what Jeff has accomplished for us and we are thankful that he took the initiative to invent this solution, not only for us, but also for our customers, our neighbors and our environment.
A few questions for Jeff:
What has made The Mountain® so successful?
The Mountain® has had a long history of creating t-shirts that stand out in the market place. This is because we are a fully integrated manufacturer right here in the USA. With our in-house design, dye and print facilities we have always had the ability to push the limits of making t-shirts that go beyond the conventional. This, coupled with offering an array of custom value added services and unparalleled customer service has made The Mountain® a legendary provider of t-shirts for our retailers. Our goal is to ship our customer’s orders within 24 hours.
What is your eco-friendly background? What does being a green business mean to you?
In a time when many company’s are grappling with how to reinvent themselves as “green” The Mountain® has always worked in a way that respects the environment. The cornerstones of being green for The Mountain® are the materials that we use to manufacture our t-shirts. From day one we have always used the highest quality natural materials to create our t-shirts with. We start with a white t-shirt made from 100% natural USA cotton. Then, to color our garments, we use fiber reactive organic dyes to create a wide spectrum of dye colors that are inspired by nature. Next our t-shirts are printed with environmentally friendly waterbased inks. Most screenprinters use solvent based inks made primarily of plastic (petroleum) that have a rough feel and contain toxic phthalates. While many printers are trying to kick the chemical habit and learn how to use waterbased inks, we are light years ahead of them. We are literally pioneers of using waterbased ink and have perfected it’s use to create photo-realist imagery that is not attainable by other screen printers. Being “green” to me means being mindful of your choices which have a direct impact on the environment and future generations.
How did you get involved with The Mountain® and why?
I started working here in March of 1993. My friend, Michael McGloin our Licensing & Creative Director (Designer), needed someone to run the printing operations of his then 3 month old start-up. I had known Michael for a few years and really connected with him on the creative level. He was and is a well spring of ideas and I wanted to be a part of creating something from the ground floor with him, so I decided to jump in and bring my skills to the table.
Jeff, what can you tell me about the Oxidation Plant that cleans dye waste water? How does it work? How long have you had it? How do you expect it to change business?
The Dye Oxidation System (DOS), has been on line since January 3, 2011. It purifies our manufacturing process waste water by removing color without the addition of chemical. Because this process does not rely on the use of chemical it does not create dead water that has been stripped of its’ oxygen. Rather, it does the opposite in that the final product is enriched with oxygen which works harmoniously with micro organisms that are used in our local city water treatment facility.
Of the available industry standard methods for dye houses to remove color from process waste water, all are heavily dependent on the use of chemicals, which result in derivatives that can endanger local water sources, generate sludge and create dead water.
Because The Mountain® is an environmentally responsible company, I was not happy with any of the industry standard, out of the box solutions. Through research and collaboration with existing suppliers, the DOS was engineered to purify our waste water without the environmentally negative repercussions of the traditional chemical based methods. By installing the DOS we are protecting our local water resources and the environment by not accepting the conventional methods of dye-house color removal that rely on chemical use and generate sludge. By installing the DOS, The Mountain® is stating that they are committed to continuing the legacy of American Made Manufacturing in a time when so many other garment dyers/printers are moving their operations offshore in search of cheap labor and relaxed environmental regulations. This will continue to allow us to take care of our employees and their families for years to come.
(Photo Left) Vials of dye water showing before and after results using non-chemical water treatment with our new Dye Oxidation System (DOS) over an 6-12 hour period of treatment.
What can you tell me about The Mountain's future eco-friendly/green initiatives?
List of initiatives now in progress:
• Latent heat recovery – process water to hot water
• Latent heat recovery – process water to space heating
• Latent heat recovery – process air to process make-up air
• Recycling of our water and the creation of a closed loop system for our process.
• Solar energy generation