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Sustainable Print Marketing: Here’s to Successful and Very Green Print!

Sustainable print has been around for decades – we have talked about this before!  So now we’re all so very aware of the negative impact humans are having on the planet. How do we make really green print marketing?


Marketing has historically been one of those areas viewed as generating waste. Remember the days of junk mail or hauling back carrier bags of loot from exhibitions. It may be tempting to take a digital only approach to marketing. But you will be doing your business and the planet no favours if you do.

You might think it is an eco-friendlier approach, but digital marketing is anything but.  It uses huge energy resources to get your messages out there. And uses scarce, mined metals in batteries and circuit boards as well as plastics in the hardware required to send and receive. If e-waste goes to landfill, hazardous and toxic substances can leak out, causing water and soil contamination. Every commercial action we take has an impact on the environment, the trick is getting the best result for the least impact.

You can improve your marketing efforts exponentially when you include print marketing. And it’s as sustainable as it is impactful. Mixing online and offline marketing, reaches, engages, and gets results across all demographics. So, if we already have green print marketing how do you make it better?

Be More Considered

The easiest way to be more eco-friendly with your print marketing is to print less. Yes – I know sounds mad us saying that, but effective print marketing is not just about quantity. It’s about being strategic, being concise and producing materials that really reflect the quality of your product or service. Quality over quantity if you like.

So yes, we are saying print less, but we’re saying be more considered in your approach to print marketing. At NEXUScpp we’re not printers, we’re print marketers. This means that we can advise on every element of your print strategy, ensuring your printed marketing materials exceed expectations and wow your target audience.

Choose Sustainable Materials…

Print has been ahead of the curve for some time when it comes to sustainability. Since as far back as the early 1990s there have been global measures in place to ensure that commercial papers are sourced from sustainably managed forests – they are harvested and replanted.

If you’re looking to really boost your eco-friendly credentials though, you may want to choose a paper that’s recycled or comes from a carbon neutral paper mill. There are lots of great recycled papers on the market now and we will always guide you through the process of choosing the paper or board that’s just right for your project. If you are looking at packaging we can look at biodegradable and compostable bioplastics.

…And Sustainable Processes

We’ve already discussed eco-friendly papers, and most printing processes are environmentally friendly too. UK print houses use recyclable materials as standard, and many have solar-assisted power and water treatment plants.

The newest print form – digital printing – doesn’t require a printing plate to transfer the image. The process also produces significantly less paper waste than other commercial printing methods. Digital printing has come a long way over the past few years and is perfect for small, targeted and eco-friendly print runs.

Traditional commercial printing – offset litho, uses vegetable oil-based inks that use linseed, cottonseed and soy and are much more environmentally friendly than their carbon-based counterparts used to be.  They have been common in commercial printing for years. Made from 100% natural elements, the waste can be easily recycled and turned into new inks. Printing plates used in litho printing are made from very light aluminum and are constantly recycled. As is all the paper that is used as preparation on these longer print runs. Printed paper can be recycled unto 7 times and then it is biodegradable.

Get Proofing

Mistakes happen – it’s all part of life! But even small errors or oversights in print can reduce the impact of your materials, cost you in reprints and cause disruption to your business.

To make sure your brochure, signage, packaging, or direct mailer is perfect it’s important to establish proofing processes – both internally and with your print consultant.

Before sending your printed products to print, the designs need to be reviewed thoroughly by several members of your team. Our advice is to check, double check and then check again!

When proofing you should be looking for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as fact checking the content itself. Is the message correct? Are the contact details correct? Etc. It’s also important to ensure the copy fits your tone of voice and that the design is within your visual brand guidelines. Study the layout, any important bits getting lost in margins or edges?

And remember – when proofreading revised versions – study the whole thing – not just the bit that has been changed! At the end of the day, you are always responsible for what is printed, not your designer, not the printer.  Don’t rush it and don’t cut corners!!

To find out more about the importance of preserving your brand, check out our recent blog: Why is guarding your brand so important for your business dream?

The proofing process may seem tedious, but ultimately it could save you from printing hundreds of copies of a brochure that goes straight into the recycling bin.

Be Clever with Design & Content

Sustainable print marketing requires more than just using recycled and eco-friendly materials. To be truly sustainable, you need to think about the lifespan of your print marketing once it’s left your office and is in the hands of your current or potential customers. In a nutshell, how can you make sure that your print marketing is read and retained and isn’t just put in the (recycling!) bin?

Spend time thinking about who you’re targeting, what their challenges are and how the content in your printed materials can help them overcome these. By taking a more strategic and targeted approach you can ensure you’re not wasting paper and energy sending your messages out to someone who won’t be interested.  Make your eco-friendly printed materials stay front of mind for as long as possible and lead to action.

Are you looking to make more eco-friendly print choices? We work with a range of different print houses and can advise on the most sustainable (and suitable!) printing for your project. To find out more about how we can help reduce your carbon footprint then get in touch for a chat today.


Gill Robinson
7th July 2021


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