Why Choose Eco-Friendly Printing and Sustainable Supplies?

Why Switch to Eco-Friendly Printing and Sustainable Supplies?

Why eco-friendly printing? With an increasing demand for more sustainable and safer printing solutions, more and more companies are looking for greener alternatives and innovative strategies to decrease their environmental impact. Eco-friendly printing and sustainable supplies help protect natural resources and wildlife. Eco-friendly printing is being environmentally conscious when it comes to creating printed materials for personal and business needs and choosing to use more sustainable and nonpolluting supplies.

What Is Eco-friendly Printing?

Eco-friendly or green printing is the application of green initiatives and making a conscious decision to opt for nonpolluting alternatives when it comes to printing and supplies. This can involve choosing the right printer, the ink, the paper stocks, the labels, the cartridge, and other sustainable printed materials.

The Importance of Eco-Friendly Products and Sustainable Printing

Making environmentally-friendly printing decisions can help sustain the environment, decrease your carbon footprint, remove health risks from toxic exposures, and even help sustain your business. Some eco-friendly printing alternatives can help increase the lifespans of the supplies used, which helps decrease costs and increase productivity.

What are Printing Consumables?

Printing consumables are used in the printing process and are used up by the process. A lot of old printing-related supplies are consumables. These can include things like labels and RFID inlays. Consumables are intended to be used in high numbers and are usually for single use only. 

Printing consumables have short lifespans, and avoiding them provides an environmental opportunity for companies to reduce, reuse and recycle. Being mindful of the business's environmental impact also has its competitive advantages by setting a positive example in the industry and helping build trust and confidence with your customers.

How to Make Environmentally-Friendly Printing Decisions

Environmentally-friendly printing can include avoiding toxic chemicals in supplies that hurt the environment, choosing paper that can be recyclable to help reduce waste, choosing compostable ink cartridges to help save landfill space, and many more. With a growing number of options, high-quality sustainable supplies are available to accommodate any printing needs, whether you need to print business cards, shipping labels, product labels, posters, reports, etc.

To begin your transition to eco-friendly printing, it is important to look at the materials and avoid toxic chemicals. For example, materials that include chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and Bisphenol S (BPS) can be avoided when choosing the correct supplies. There are many alternatives to avoid these materials such as choosing Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) Content and recycle-friendly supplies. In addition, there are also plenty of printing labels that help reduce product volume and packaging, such as linerless labels. Consumers do not need to give up on print quality by choosing sustainable and environmentally-friendly printing supplies.

Choosing Materials: What are the Five Initiatives for Environmentally Sustainable Supplies?

  1. Recycled Content: Choose print supplies that are manufactured using post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials
  2. Packaging Reduction: Remove things like shrink wrap or bubble wrap
  3. Recyclable, Compostable, & Biodegradable: Choose materials that are made from potato starch and bio-based synthetics. You can also choose things like paper-based RFID inlays and labels. Polyethylene packaging is also recyclable.
  4. Eliminating Hazardous Materials: Choose BPA-free and phenol-free print supplies
  5. Reduced Product Volume: Choose linerless labels and PET liners labels

What are Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) Content Materials?

Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material is made from materials that were previously used and recycled such as paper and plastic. These materials can be found in your manufacturing process from the leftover scraps that were cut during the printing process that did not make it to consumers. Using PCR Content reduces the use of virgin material making an overall saving on natural resources and energy.

Zebra uses Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials. The Z-Perform 1000D-E is made up of 15% post-consumer recycled materials, helping save resources like water and energy.

What Are the Benefits of Recyclable Printing?

Another aspect to pay attention to when choosing supplies for your business is the recyclability of the materials used. When labels are brought into your business, it is easy for employees to handle the disposal of those supplies. However, when these supplies leave the facility and go into the hands of the customer, businesses do not have control of the handling and disposing of such supplies. When these labels are sent out to your customers, the assumption is often that the materials used to make these labels are recyclable and they are safe to treat as such. In fact, many people often mistake that all paper labels are recyclable, so most end-users treat them that way. End users end up recycling shipping boxes with shipping labels without knowing that the adhesive needs to be removed from the paper pulp, which can be a challenging process.

Why Are Reducing Product Volume and Choosing the Right Packaging Important?

When you acquire supplies for your business, it may be hard to notice, but the supplies you purchase may be too big for their own good. Materials can be high in volume, which comes with bigger packaging. Sometimes packaging can even be much bigger than what the contents need. This can negatively impact the environment and the overall sustainability of your supplies. Not only that, if these materials are not being used, it can be a wasted cost for the business. Reducing product volume, weight, and packaging can help decrease negative environmental impact and increase overall sustainability.  A reduction in product volume when possible and getting the appropriately-sized packaging can mean that more products can fit on the shipping pallet, resulting in less fuel for transportation and less needed storage space.

Are There Eco-friendly Printers?

Selecting printers that are compatible with linerless labels can help reduce waste, which helps minimize negative impacts on the environment. Even if these printers require an upfront investment, the investment can have positive effects on your business and the environment. 

This is because linerless labels have environmental and safety benefits compared to labels with liners. Linerless labels do not come with a liner that has a release coating, allowing the label to peel away and separate from the adhesive. Not having a liner inherently reduces waste.

To help you achieve linerless labeling and printing, Zebra offers the Zebra 8000D linerless desktop labels, which are compatible with the Zebra ZD620 direct thermal printer.

Are Liners Recyclable?

Since liners are usually made with silicone, which usually means that they are non-recyclable. They also can not be burned. Disposing liners continues to be an environmental challenge. Liners are also slippery and removing them can limit slip hazards that result from the accumulation of liner piles under the printers.

Many businesses are seeking options that help them reduce waste while meeting their operational objectives. This is why many are choosing linerless printing.

What Hazardous Printing Materials Should You Avoid?

As mentioned earlier in this article, materials that include BPA/BPS and phenol should be avoided when deciding on what supplies your business should use. BPA (Bisphenol A) and BPS (Bisphenol S) are carbon-based compounds that are found in many materials including certain types of thermal printing papers. This ingredient is used primarily in manufacturing and included in commercial products such as food containers, plastic bottles, hygiene products, printing and label materials, and more. When these chemicals are disposed of, they can greatly impact the aquatic ecosystem. The most impacted animals have been different species of fish. These chemicals have affected their growth, reproductive, and development. This can put their population in harm's way along with humans who may consume these animals.

In addition to aquatic life impact, it is often easy to overlook the implications to human life, which can be impacted due to the use in the production of food processing and water gathering. Increased intake and exposure to these chemicals can cause endocrine disruptors to spread throughout the body. Endocrine disruptors have been found to interfere with people's reproductive systems. These chemicals can cause disruption in the immune and nervous systems of humans and can increase the risk of cancer. Common products that have been found to contain endocrine disruptors are plastic bottles and containers, liners in metal food cans, food, toys, and cosmetics.

What Are Environmentally-friendly Ways to Print? And How Is Zebra Taking Action to Help Companies Be More Green and Sustainable?

Printing can be more sustainable and eco-friendly by incorporating materials that will help sustain responsible print production. It's important to choose nontoxic and environmentally-friendly supplies when possible. All of Zebra's labels are now BPA-free. The Zebra’s Z-Perform 1000D PF Labels are both BPS-free and BPA-free and use alternative developers. These phenol-free labels and receipts are often regarded to be safer to handle than those that contain BPA and BPS chemicals.

Over the years, Zebra Technologies has developed printing supplies to provide more eco-friendly printing solutions. In order to hone in on the benefits of Post-Consumer Recycled Content, Zebra created the Z-Perform 2000D Eco Liner, which is made up of 90% PCR materials. In addition, Zebra developed the Z-PolyPro 4000D-Eco label, which has been formulated to be able to recycle with PE flexible envelope while keeping its high performance.  

In order to help reduce product volume and packaging, Zebra developed the Z-Perform 2000D Eco Liner, which has a thinner, recyclable PET liner. There are more labels on the roll, which means fewer rolls for the same number of labels.

The Zebra 8000D Dissolvable Label is a great option to help reduce waste. When it is placed under running water, the facestock disperses into small paper fibers and the adhesive dissolves away from the surface. This label also comes in a high-temp version that is resistant to temperatures up to 140°F.

The Zebra 8000D Linerless Label has a silicone release top-coating. This label uses a special adhesive that allows it to peel away from the labels with no liner needed. With this label, you can help eliminate liner waste, which is a common issue that you see with standard labels.

The Zebra PolyPro 4000D-E Label, which is currently available in North America and Latin America, is a specially formulated combination of face stock and adhesive. This combination meets the requirements of the Association of Plastic Recyclers. This printing label can be recycled alongside a polyethylene bubble mailer.

The Zebra Z-Perform 1000D-E Label is a BPA-free paper. It is made up of 15% recycled postconsumer waste. It has the same direct thermal printability and performance as other labels with standard grades. This label is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The ZBR2100-E Inlay is 100% plastic-free. This is a paper-based RFID inlay with a laser-cut antenna. Choosing this inlay will help save resources during manufacturing, such as saving water, energy, and greenhouse gasses. This supply is designed with the high-sensitivity UCODE 9 chipset to allow for high read ranges of up to 19m. This product is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

How Can I Choose the Right Label Material?

As a manufacturer of supplies, Zebra experts can help you select the right label material for you. You will need to provide P.R.E.S.S., which includes the following information:

P - Printer Model

R - Resistance (scratch, chemical, etc.)

E - Environment (indoor use, outdoor use, temperature needs, etc.)

S - Surface (plastic, metal, curved, rough, etc.)

S - Size (width, length, perforations, slits, etc.)

Learn More About Zebra's Range of Supplies