Enter your Business in our $80K Marketing Giveaway

Sustainability in Printing

sustainability in printing

Do you care about sustainability in your print projects? We do, too! You might already be using recycled paper, specing vegetable-based inks, and taking other traditional sustainability steps, but for the adventurous, there is even more you can do. Let’s look at three holistic approaches that take a cradle-to-grave approach.

1. Net Zero Design

NetZero Design refers to designing your commercial printing, direct mail, or wide-format projects (or any project) to minimize or eliminate the carbon emissions associated with their production and use. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. This can be achieved through strategies such as using eco-friendly materials,maximizing energy efficiency in printing processes, and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon offset programs.

What might this look like for your next commercial print or direct mail project?

Material Selection: Choose FSC-certified paper made from sustainably managed forests to reduce the environmental impact of paper production.

Printing Process: Work with a printer like Full Sail Media with energy-efficient printing equipment and that uses vegetable-based inks to lower energy consumption and emissions during the printing process.

Carbon Offsetting: Offset any remaining carbon emissions generated during production and distribution by investing in a reputable carbon offset program.

Adopting Net Zero Design principles can help you meet the growing demand for eco-friendly products while contributing to global efforts to combat climate change. Plus, it looks great when you promote it in your marketing: “Designed for Net Zero Emissions!”

2. Circular Economy

The concept of a circular economy is based on the idea of keeping resources in use for as long as possible and minimizing waste and environmental impact. This means designing products that prioritize the reuse, recycling, and repurposing of materials to create a closed-loop system. If you are producing packaging, for example, you want to design with an eye toward disposal. This might mean eliminating multi-layer packaging that cannot be recycled.

Here’s another example from the wide-format world:

Material Choice: Opt for durable, recyclable materials such as polyester fabric made from recycled plastic bottles instead of single-use vinyl banners.

Reusability: Design banners with modular components that allow for easy disassembly and reuse at events.

End-of-Life Consideration: Provide instructions for proper recycling or repurposing of banners once they reach the end of their lifecycles.

3. Embodied Carbon

Embodied carbon refers to the carbon emissions associated with the entire lifecycle of a product, including the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end-of-life disposal. What might this look like in product packaging?

Material Selection: Choose packaging materials with lower embodied carbon, such as recycled cardboard or biodegradable plastics.

Lightweight Design: Optimize the packaging design to reduce material usage and overall weight, thereby lowering transportation emissions.

Minimalist Approach: Simplify the packaging design to eliminate unnecessary components and reduce the overall environmental impact.

Feel overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. Think of the move toward greater sustainability as a creative adventure! Plus, remember that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress. Need help? Contact one of our expert designers. That’s why we’re here!


Think of the move toward greater sustainability as a creative adventure! Plus, remember that sustainability is a journey, not a destination.

Author: Bobby Firestein

Share This Post