Printful becomes more sustainable: how and what sustainability measures were taken in 2020

Printful becomes more sustainable: how and what sustainability measures were taken in 2020

Jan 18, 2021

Printful, an on-demand production company, is taking a number of measures to push the print-on-demand industry on a more sustainable path. The company now shares its most important sustainability achievements of 2020. Printful prints custom products on-demand for online businesses, and ships each order to their customers around the world.

We believe that by making products on demand we can tackle the major overproduction challenge in the fashion industry. It's our responsibility as a global business to protect our natural resources for generations to come.” Davis Siksnans, CEO of Printful.

To increase the sustainability of the print-on-demand business model, Printful worked on defining their eco-friendly product standards and growing an eco-friendly collection. For Printful, an eco-friendly product is one that consists of either organic, recycled, or biodegradable materials, or contains at least 30% of these materials.

In 2020 Printful added 10 new products to their eco-friendly collection, which currently consists of 14 products in total. These products have been certified by OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, and other certifications that grant organic or recyclable materials. The POD company plans to double its eco-friendly collection in 2021.

After reviewing its all-over print product creation process, Printful found that there's an average of 42% leftover fabric waste. Throughout 2020 that leftover waste was reduced to 35%. Printful is continuously working on reducing this percentage in the future by including and improving the best production practices for each new product.

To manage the leftover fabric scraps in Mexico and Charlotte facilities, Printful partnered with recycling companies like Geocycle and Martex Fiber. Thanks to Geocycle, a waste management solution that turns discarded garments into cement, as much as 162,866 lbs (73,884 kgs) of leftover fabric was recycled in 2020. Printful continues to search for similar waste reduction solutions for its fulfillment centers globally.

While setting sustainability goals, a group of 10 Printful employees founded a Green Team. The Green Team is dedicated to improving the company's production and internal processes. The team is responsible for implementing an internal recycling system and training 1400+ employees in daily recycling habits as a part of their onboarding program. 30% of the trainees have finished the training and the rest are finishing it in 2021.

Another crucial part of making any company more sustainable is reducing packaging materials. Printful used to wrap its DTG single-product orders in an additional plastic mailer. Now, the POD company uses only one poly mailer bag to package the order.

For posters, Printful started using triangular boxes to replace tubes with plastic end caps. By making these changes, Printful's saved more than 38,325 lbs (17,384 kgs) of plastic since February 2020.

About Printful: 
Printful is an on-demand printing and warehousing company that helps people turn their ideas into brands and products. The company fulfills and ships custom clothing, accessories, and home & living items for online businesses. 

Since its founding in 2013, Printful has been trusted to deliver 27M+ items, and in 2019 the company hit a revenue milestone of $116 million. Printful has scaled to a team of 1,400+ people across eight fulfillment centers around the world.