As a leading print-on-demand fashion company, Spreadshirt knows how important it is to be sustainable and to care about our planet. What it boils down to is that all of our actions impact the environment. We strive to take every step possible to reduce our impact, for example by minimizing our carbon footprint. Find out how print-on-demand production helps reduce the environmental impact fashion is having on the world we live in.
Less resources mean less harm
Print-on-demand clothing is considered sustainable because it reduces textile waste by only producing items that have been specifically ordered by customers. This eliminates the need for excess inventory that usually leads to unsold products, and ultimately to brand-new clothing getting discarded. What’s more, print-on-demand and custom printed clothing reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation, as fewer products need to be shipped in the first place. By producing less, less resources such as energy and water are needed for the manufacturing process.
Eco-Friendly Inks and Printing
There are several types of ink that are more environmentally friendly than others. Some of the most common types include:
- Water-based inks: These inks use water as the primary solvent, making them less toxic and less harmful to the environment than other types of inks. They are also less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
- Soy-based inks: Soy-based inks are made from soybeans, making them a renewable and biodegradable alternative to traditional petroleum-based inks. They are also less toxic and produce less emissions during the printing process.
- Vegetable-based inks: Vegetable-based inks are made from natural sources such as linseed oil, which is derived from flax seeds. They are considered eco-friendly because they are biodegradable and non-toxic.
- UV-curable inks: UV-curable inks use ultraviolet light to cure the ink, rather than solvents. This method reduces the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the atmosphere, making it more eco-friendly than other types of inks.
At Spreadshirt, we currently use water-based inks and keep improving our print methods to make them even more sustainable, e.g. by producing products with certified, sustainable ink.
The most sustainable way of shipping products and goods is to use:
- Recyclable packaging
- Reusable packaging
- Biodegradable packaging, or
- Minimal packaging
Made from materials that can be recycled. Paper, cardboard, and certain plastics offer a more sustainable option. Recycling helps reducing the amount of waste in landfills and conserves resources by turning waste into new products.
Using items such as glass jars, metal tins, and cloth bags for packaging is thought of as one of the most sustainable methods of packaging. By reducing the need for single-use packaging, repeated use results in much less waste is produced.
Using materials that can break down naturally in nature, such as plant-based plastics and compostable materials, is considered sustainable. This is because they do not contribute to the problem of plastic pollution and can be safely absorbed by the environment.
If it is not possible to use any of the above, trying to limit the amount of packaging is also a good start. Only using what is strictly needed to protect the product reduces the amount of raw material and energy needed, making it more sustainable.
How we saved 767 trees
At Spreadshirt are trying to include as many of these methods into our packaging. Since 2022 we have stopped using plastic bags for shipping larger items such as custom hoodies and bulk orders for the corporate world reducing the amount of plastic packaging we used by over 50%. We have also moved to a completely paperless production process, saving more than 8 million sheets of paper per year, approximately 767 trees!
There is still a long way to go, but we are committed to a greener future, and we will continue to look for more ways to improve the production methods we use, source more eco-friendly products, and reduce the environmental impact we are making. Read more about how sustainability is shaping Spread Groups future.