What type of ink do you use?
For DTG products, we use Kornit Water-based and NeoPigment inks that are Oeko-Tex™ certified, which means they are safe to print on children’s clothing and reduce environmental waste. These inks provide a high washing colorfast AATCC rating of 4.
We use Mimaki Dye Sublimation Ink Sb411 and Sawgrass SubliJet HD ink for sublimation products. Both of these inks are Oeko-Tex™ certified. For some sublimation products, we also use MYSUBLI-E Sublimation Transfer Ink.
We use Mimaki UV Inkjet Ink Lus 120 ink for phone cases. This ink is GREENGUARD Gold certified, which means the ink meets the gold certification for building materials, finishes, and furnishings.
For posters, we use Epson UltraChrome GS3 ink. This ink is also GREENGUARD Gold certified.
Other non-apparel products
For mugs, we use Sawgrass SubliJet HD ink. For selected non-apparel products, stickers, and canvas, we use EPSON SC80610/80600 ink.
What happens to damaged products, unclaimed returns, and fabric scraps?
In 2020, we partnered up with waste management service providers Geocycle and Martex to take care of fabric waste in our Tijuana and Charlotte facilities. In total, we sent 206,737 lb. (93,774 kg) of fabric waste to recycling within the first year.
Last year, we’ve also found recycling solutions for our Los Angeles, Barcelona, and Riga facilities, which has enabled us to recycle a total of 649,298 lb. (131,665 kg) in 2021.
Whenever possible, we also donate damaged and returned products to local charities, like the Red Cross, the American Kidney Fund, and Goodwill.
What’s an eco-friendly product?
Our eco-friendly product collection consists of items made of at least 70% organic or recycled materials, or such material blends. Currently, that includes, but is not limited to, organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and organic cotton/recycled polyester fabric blends.
What suppliers are you working with?
You can find some of our most popular clothing suppliers, their sustainability information, and certifications in our apparel brand guide. We work with suppliers that produce high-quality products that last through many washes, keeping print colors vibrant and the fabric soft.
Are your products GOTS or OEKO-TEX certified?
Many of our products have certificates, and they vary from product to product based on the supplier. To make our product sourcing more transparent, we added a Source tab to every product in our catalog earlier this year. It contains information about each item’s manufacturer and country of origin. You can also download product certificates—such as GOTS and OEKO-TEX—in the Description tab of all our eco-friendly products. Learn more about our suppliers, their sustainability information and certifications in our apparel brand guide.
Are your products vegan?
All items in our catalog are free of animal products. All products from Stanley/Stella are also PETA-Approved Vegan. You can download their certification in the Apparel Brand Guide.
How does the Standard shipping rate with CO2 offsetting work?
Printful has partnered with Native to give your customers the option to offset all CO2 emissions associated with their order.
Profit from this shipping method will be used to fund projects around the world that reduce carbon emissions. By choosing this option, your customers will offset the average emissions ($0.16 without taxes per product or its equivalent in other currencies) associated with blank product manufacturing, fulfillment, shipping, and expected product care.
What are CO2 emissions?
CO2 dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas that comes from burning fossil fuels, manufacturing, agriculture, and other economic activities, contributing to global warming.
There are other gases responsible for climate change, however, for the ease of calculations, they’re all quantified in one single metric called CO2 emissions.
What is CO2 offsetting?
CO2 offsetting is a practice of funding projects that reduce or absorb CO2 emissions related to personal or business activities.
Are your products shipped sustainably?
Around 81% of Printful orders are delivered within the same region they’re fulfilled in. Having fulfillment centers close to our customers is good for both the business and the planet. Strategically located fulfillment centers allow for faster shipping times and lower shipping costs, and it also helps with reducing CO₂ emissions produced when transporting orders.
Products available in the same region are shipped together whenever possible. This helps our customers save money and is much better for the environment.
How is print-on-demand (POD) more sustainable than conventional manufacturing?
Traditional retailers produce items before putting them up for sale, so they’re always manufactured in bulk to save money. In contrast, Printful only makes products when an order is placed, limiting our stock to items that already have a buyer.
This lets us avoid the overproduction that is widespread in the rest of the industry. Unsold stock is usually thrown out or burned, with fashion retailers alone wasting 92 million tons of textile each year. In POD, waste mainly comes from items damaged during printing, and Printful’s rate of damages is consistent with the industry standard. We also keep our reshipment rate low by taking all orders through a 3-step quality check before we ship them out.
Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is more sustainable than other more outdated apparel printing methods, such as screen printing. Not only does screen printing use a lot of water and plastisol inks that don’t biodegrade, but it’s also generally used for bulk orders, which leads to overproduction. In comparison, DTG printing is more eco-friendly because items get printed only when they’re ordered, and this method can be used for single-item printing.
Will you switch to plastic-free packaging?
Currently, we can’t eliminate all plastic from our packaging, but we’re working on more sustainable versions of our packaging that wouldn’t sacrifice any of its protective properties.
Over the last 2 years, we’ve implemented some changes to reduce our environmental impact:
- Switched to triangular boxes for posters to eliminate plastic end caps
- Implemented poly mailers with instructions on how to recycle them
- Introduced eco-poly mailers consisting of at least 30% recycled plastic for all in-house apparel orders
- Added paper mailers for phone cases in North Carolina
These and any future packaging changes will be gradual, but we’re committed to constant improvement. We’ve also introduced custom packaging solutions, including additional branding opportunities with custom packaging slips and inserts.
Do you use recycled packaging?
As of May 2021, we’ve started using packaging made of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. PCR plastics are made from items people recycle every day, like plastic bags and bottles. Most of our PCR plastics are made from shopping bags and wrapping films.
We use PCR plastic packaging for all apparel orders shipped from our in-house facilities. The amount of PCR in the packaging differs for each fulfillment location, but it’s at least 50% for the outside (white or grey) poly mailer bags and at least 30% for the inside (clear) bags used in multi-item shipments.
As of May 2022, we’re starting to gradually switch to 90%–100% PCR plastic packaging for apparel products in our in-house facilities all over North America. Learn more about the new improved packaging over here.
PCR packaging protects the products just as well as virgin plastic bags, and they look almost the same. However, choosing PCR over virgin plastics reduces the environmental impact plastic has on our planet.
We know there’s still a lot left to do about our packaging footprint, and we’ll keep exploring greener options in the future.