sustainable print on demand

Sustainable Print on Demand: How to make your Print on demand business more eco-friendly?

Starting a business is not all about making money. Other than gaining profit, it is also important to keep your business aligned with your perspective and values in life. If you are the kind of entrepreneur that cares about the environment and leaving a good impact on the world, sustainable print-on-demand is an option worth considering.

Why should we care about making our print on demand business sustainable? Let’s take a look at some astounding statistics about the impact of the current fashion industry on the environment.

  • Each year, 92 million tons of clothes-related waste was discarded into the environment. 
  • Every time we produce clothes, about 15% of the fabric goes to waste. Shockingly, 57% of those discarded clothes end up in landfills. 
  • Not just that, textile dyeing alone contributes to a staggering 20% of global wastewater.

These statistics post an urgent need for sustainable practices in the clothing industry, including reducing waste and adopting eco-friendly methods for making apparel products.

In the following, let’s go through everything about eco-friendly print on demand.

Is print on demand eco-friendly?

sustainable print on demand

Yes, print on demand can be eco-friendly. Print on demand products are not mass-produced and only printed when they are ordered. This production model reduces excess inventory and minimizes waste. You won’t have to worry about how to dispose of the unsold inventory waste. Compared with the traditional method, this is a much more environmentally friendly option to run your fashion business.

That’s not all. To run a sustainable print-on-demand business, it is important to be conscious of every decision you make.

  • Choose sustainable materials: Select print-on-demand providers that have eco-friendly options for materials and inks, for example, POD providers who use organic and recycled materials, eco-friendly packaging, or water-based inks.
  • Pick local production: To minimize the carbon footprint, you should choose the optimized location of production. By choosing local production, you can shorten the shipping distance and lower the emission from transportation.
  • Select POD providers with sustainable production: Sustainability can be accessed through different aspects. It could be eco-friendly materials, energy-saving equipment, zero-waste processing, zero-plastic packaging, and more. Prioritize POD services paying attention to sustainability in practices.

Sustainable POD

These are all ideal practices that make a sustainable print-on-demand business. But in reality, not all print-on-demand providers can meet all the mentioned requirements. It might require a lot of research and effort to find a reliable, reputable POD service that aligns with your sustainability values.

But don’t worry. Later on, we will give a list of eco-friendly print on demand providers out there for you to consider.

Benefits of sustainable print on demand

eco-friendly sustainable print on demand

Sustainable print-on-demand offers a multitude of benefits that align with the growing demand for ethical fashion and sustainable practices. As the fashion industry continues to evolve, embracing sustainable print-on-demand methods presents a compelling case for businesses and consumers alike.

Reduce waste and minimize environmental impact

Traditional mass production methods often lead to overproduction, resulting in excess inventory that goes to waste. In contrast, print-on-demand enables businesses to produce items only when there is a demand for them, eliminating the need for excessive production and reducing the amount of unsold inventory that ends up in landfills

Enhance your brand image

In today’s environmentally conscious world, consumers are increasingly seeking out brands that align with their values. Embracing sustainable print-on-demand practices demonstrates a company’s commitment to environmental responsibility, which can significantly enhance its brand image. By aligning with consumers’ growing desire for eco-friendly products, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and establish a reputation as a socially responsible brand. This positive brand perception can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and a stronger market position.

Attract more eco-conscious consumers

The demand for eco-friendly products is on the rise, driven by a growing awareness of the environmental impact of consumerism. By adopting sustainable print-on-demand practices, businesses can tap into this growing market of eco-conscious consumers. These consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that are environmentally friendly and align with their values. By catering to this segment of the market, businesses can attract new customers, increase sales, and expand their customer base.

Reduce cost and efficiency

Sustainable print-on-demand practices can also lead to cost savings for businesses. Eco-friendly materials and printing techniques often require less energy and water consumption, reducing overhead costs. Additionally, businesses that minimize waste and opt for reusable or recyclable packaging can further reduce expenses. By adopting sustainable practices, businesses can streamline their operations, eliminate unnecessary costs, and improve their overall efficiency.

Meet the growing demand for environmentally conscious products

The shift toward sustainability is not just a passing trend; it’s becoming a mainstream movement. The global apparel market is expected to witness a substantial increase in the share of sustainable clothing items, rising from 3.9% in 2021 to 6.1% in 2026.

This shift reflects the growing consumer preference for eco-friendly and socially responsible fashion choices. By utilizing sustainable print on demand, companies can cater to this demand, increase their market share, and establish a positive brand image in the minds of environmentally conscious consumers.

75% of millennials are willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands, while 66% of global consumers express a willingness to pay extra for sustainable apparel brands.

The willingness of millennials and global consumers to pay more for sustainable brands is another significant factor. This demographic, known for their emphasis on social and environmental responsibility, forms a substantial consumer base. By offering sustainable print-on-demand products, brands can attract and retain these conscious consumers, thereby increasing customer loyalty and generating higher revenue.

How to make sustainable print on demand products?

In this section, we’ll walk you through easy and practical tips to make sustainable print on demand products by answering some common questions.

benefit of sustainable print on demand

What is the most sustainable way to print?

  • Use Water-Based or Eco-Friendly Inks: Select printing inks that are water-based and free from harmful chemicals. Water-based inks have reduced VOC emissions and are more environmentally friendly than traditional petroleum-based inks.
  • Digital Printing Techniques: Utilize digital printing methods such as direct-to-garment (DTG) printing or dye-sublimation printing. These techniques allow for precise printing, reducing ink waste, and eliminating the need for excess inventory or overproduction.
  • Efficient Production Processes: Optimize production processes to minimize energy consumption and waste generation. Implement energy-efficient equipment, such as printers and heat presses, and adopt lean manufacturing principles to reduce material waste and maximize efficiency.

What materials are sustainable for print on demand products?

  • Opt for clothing made from organic or sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, or recycled fibers. These materials have a lower environmental impact compared to conventional fabrics and promote responsible sourcing. You can also take a look at our guide on shirt materials to choose the most suitable option for your clothing business.
  • Finding sustainable materials for hard goods like mugs, tumblers, and decorations can be challenging due to the limited availability of eco-friendly options. However, several sustainable alternatives are emerging, and adopting responsible practices can significantly reduce the environmental impact of these products. If you’re selling hard items like these, consider durable and recyclable materials such as stainless steel, bamboo, glass, bioplastic, or recycled plastic.

Other best practices for sustainable print on demand

  • Use eco-friendly packaging: Using sustainable packaging materials, such as recycled and recyclable packaging can help reduce environmental impact. Minimize packaging waste and consider utilizing eco-friendly alternatives like biodegradable or compostable packaging materials.
  • Educate and inform customers: Raise awareness among customers about the sustainable choices they can make. Share information about the eco-friendly materials used, the POD approach, and the positive environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.

Best sustainable print on demand providers

Transitioning to sustainable print-on-demand providers enables sellers to narrow down their options for eco-friendly products and ensures that their business aligns with environmentally responsible practices. This section highlights some of the top-rated sustainable print-on-demand providers, empowering you to make informed choices for your business.


TPOP positions itself as the best sustainable print on demand alternatives in the market. This print on demand supplier puts a strong emphasis on delivering eco-responsible products.

They are committed to minimizing the ecological footprint as much as possible, by:

  • Provide eco-friendly products using renewable materials and energy-saving technologies
  • Apply zero-plastic packaging, using 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard envelopes.
  • Implement green printing techniques with the use of Oeko Tex, GOTS-certified inks
  • Opt for carbon-neutral delivery services

TPOP also offers some favorable incentives for print on demand sellers, for example, free branding options and personalized packing inserts.

tpop sustainable print on demand provider


Longer shipping time outside EU countries: This provider is based in France. If you are selling products for customers in the EU, especially in France market, TPOP is a sensible choice. However, if you are selling outside this particular region, it makes more sense to opt out of other POD providers who have local production facilities.

Expensive cost: To make a sustainable business, it requires a lot of thought as well as money to make changes and commitment to a greener future.


Printful is one of the biggest print on demand providers. As the leading company in the market, Printful has shown its commitment to making print on demand industry greener and opening more opportunities for POD sellers to move towards a more sustainable direction.

Here’s how Printful is making attempts to become more eco-friendly:

  • Eco-friendly products: Printful has a dedicated collection of eco-friendly products that consist of organic and recycled materials.
  • Sustainable packaging: Printful used post-consumer recycled plastic packaging for their apparel products.
  • Fabric waste: In order to lower fabric waste, Printful has introduced new products to make use of the used fabric that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Worldwide production: The company has a large network of fulfillment facilities across the world which makes it more efficient for shipping and better for the planet.

printful ecofriendly print on demand


  • Expensive: Printful’s products and services are more expensive than other print on demand providers in the market.


Merchize is a print on demand supplier based in Vietnam. Sustainability is one of the important goals in Merchize’s vision.

Sustainable Print on Demand

This is how Merchize has constantly improved our print on demand services to come aligned with a sustainable future.

  • Eco-friendly products: Merchize has constantly expanded our product range with more and more eco-friendly products. For example, we have a lot of recyclable wood print products. In addition, we also source a lot of our products from eco-responsible partners, like Gildan. These manufacturers have a lot of experience in sustainable products and produced a lot of products that meet sustainability standards.
  • Local production: Merchize has various manufacturing facilities in different countries, including Vietnam, China, US, UK, and Australia. Different production locations can help optimize the shipping route for better prices and lower carbon emissions.
  • Complete branding option: Merchize has recently introduced a comprehensive branding service for print-on-demand sellers. We offer a diverse range of branding options, including a variety of tag and labeling materials and placements, as well as packaging elements such as thank-you cards, stickers, wrap packing, and packing bags. Sellers can select the branding option that best suits their business needs and have complete confidence that every detail will be meticulously tailored to their brand identity. Additionally, we have carefully researched and developed each branding product to ensure that it is crafted from the most eco-friendly materials available.


Contrado is a UK-based print-on-demand company. The company has gained considerable popularity for its wide range of custom products from many categories. Besides its impressive catalog, the company also proves itself to be a very responsible agent in making positive changes to make print on demand more sustainable.

  • Sustainable production: The company pays close attention to wastewater management during the manufacturing process. They use the water board to make sure ink-related waste is processed properly and prevent leakage into the environment.
  • Eco-friendly products: Contrado currently commits to making their products 100% organic, vegan, and biodegradable. Besides, they also make use of recycled materials for production.

contrado sustainable print on demand


  • Expensive: Product cost as well as the shipping cost is comparatively high in comparison to other print on demand providers. Also, consider that Contrado is located in the UK, so if you are selling products in the US market, for example, it will cost a lot more for shipping and also cost more transport emissions into the environment.


Are there any certifications or standards for sustainable print on demand?

Collaboration with Sustainable Suppliers: Partner with suppliers who prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. Ensure that they adhere to responsible manufacturing processes, fair labor standards, and certifications such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) or Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

is a senior writer at Merchize covering products, services, and consumer tech issues and trends. Previously, she was a content writer for trustworthy brands and International corporations. With her deep knowledge in multiple industries, Bich has become a professional writer and has chosen Merchize to explore eCommerce, MMO, and Print on Demand... In her free time, she loves reading, listening to music, and hanging out at cafes.