Top Ten Tips for Sustainable Printing

In today’s environmentally conscious world, it’s crucial to prioritise reducing our carbon footprint and staying updated on tips about sustainable printing practices.

At Imago Group, we specialise in manufacturing books, board games, packaging, and more, and we’re committed to helping our clients pave a greener, more sustainable path.

Here are ten practical tips to make your publications more eco-friendly while understanding the environmental impact of materials and processes. 

  1. Choose certified paper: The type of paper used significantly impacts your product’s carbon footprint. Opt for responsibly sourced, certified papers like FSC™  (Forest Stewardship Council™ ) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) to support forest protection and afforestation efforts. By choosing Imago Group, customers can use our FSC™ accreditation on their project, promoting environmental responsibility throughout the supply chain.
  2. Select papers with lower carbon footprints: The carbon footprint of paper can be assessed using life cycle assessment (LCA) or carbon calculators, considering factors like energy use, emissions, and water consumption. Paper making is energy intensive because just like home-made papers the paper making process starts with wood pulp and water and then it is dried, the drying process requires energy. Paper’s footprint varies based on manufacturing methods, energy sources and transportation. Using renewable energy and efficient technologies during production, along with low carbon delivery vehicles can reduce a papers carbon impact. As part of the carbon footprint process Imago Group have analysed the carbon footprints of many papers, let us know if you would like us to help you find a low carbon paper for your project.
  3. Optimise printing techniques: Think about employing the latest printing technologies to reduce waste and minimise environmental impact. Work with printers who invest in the latest machinery. New presses are built for better performance, lower energy consumption and reduced waste. Many printers have invested in LED presses which have many quality and environmental benefits including energy efficiency, faster ink drying, reduced waste and lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. 
  4. Optimise layout formats for efficient production: Design your layout with machine-optimised economical formats in mind to minimise paper waste during production, reducing environmental impact. Strategic formatting choices can decrease material usage compared to designs that rely heavily on bleeds and trimming.
  5. Choose efficient binding: Balance durability with sustainability. Cased bindings give longevity to a product, but with more processes and materials involved they inevitably consume more energy than paperback bindings. PUR binding uses 70% less glue than perfect binding, making it a more sustainable option whilst metal-based binding (Wiro binding and wire stitching) use no glues and are entirely plastic free.
  6. Explore eco-alternative printing materials: Imago Group collaborates with inspiring companies developing eco-friendly alternatives to traditional printing materials. Discover materials like Toile Ocean by Winter Company made from ocean plastic, Crush paper recycled from food waste, GF Smith’s paper created from recycled coffee cupsor or consider Apple Leather using 50% PU and 50% apple waste coated onto a cotton/polyester canvas. Contact us to learn more about alternatives suitable for your project.
  7. Investigate transportation methods: We strongly encourage clients to assess their transportation methods / partners based on the printing location and point of delivery. Logistic companies are working hard to reduce emissions with electric vehicles and rail alternatives. For example rail freight reduces carbon emissions by 76 per cent compared to road. Sea freight has a lower carbon footprint than road freight whilst air freight, though fast, is the least sustainable delivery method and prohibitively costly.
  8.  Leverage carbon-reduction tools: Use tools like the Book Carbon calculator to assess and reduce the carbon footprint of your book production. Implement data-driven decisions to further minimise emissions. 
  9. Reduce the unnecessary use of plastics:  Lamination, shrinkwrap, polybagging… all help to protect your product but they are bad news for the environment. Eco-friendly plastic alternatives exist but some fail to live up to their claims in terms of recyclability / biodegradation and can be prohibitively expensive. Consider the lifespan of your product, and its distribution path. Is plastic packaging really essential or could a paper sleeve/bellyband/carton box be an alternative?
  10. Educate and advocate: Share your eco-friendly choices with readers through social media and website platforms, encouraging sustainable practices in publishing. 

Creating greener books is not only responsible but also beneficial for your business. Imago Group is here to support your publishing needs with our expertise in sustainable book production. By following these top ten ways to make your books greener, you can reduce your environmental impact while providing readers with high-quality, eco-conscious publications. 

Sustainability & Imago Group – FAQ’s

Wondering how sustainability aligns with Imago Group’s values? Here are some frequently asked questions:

Imago Group boasts unparalleled expertise in sustainable book manufacturing. We prioritise efficiency and eco-consciousness in our cutting-edge technologies.

Our commitment to sustainability extends to board games, children’s toys, magazines, and more. We specialise in eco-conscious production across various sectors.


This course led by expert Meredith Walsh, is key to understanding the importance of sustainability in printing and learning how to implement sustainable practices in your projects. Register your interest 

We encourage clients to reconsider the necessity of plastic and offers alternatives that reduce reliance on plastic, contributing to a more sustainable print industry.

Laminated material is challenging to recycle due to the combination of paper and plastic layers. Traditional recycling processes for paper are incompatible with the plastic used in lamination. While specialized recycling methods may exist, most laminated paper cannot be recycled through standard channels.

Choosing certified paper, such as FSC™ (Forest Stewardship Council™) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified papers, ensures that the paper comes from responsibly managed forests. This helps protect natural habitats, promotes biodiversity, and supports sustainable forestry practices.

Soy-based inks are derived from renewable soybean oil, making them more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based inks. They produce lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), reduce air pollution, and are easier to recycle during the printing process.

Imago Group can provide expertise on sustainable printing materials and strategies that minimise environmental impact. We collaborate with clients to identify eco-friendly alternatives and implement solutions that align with their sustainability goals.

happy earth month

Contact Us

For more information on how Imago Group can assist you in achieving your eco-friendly publishing goals, please fill out the contact form below and a member of the team will get back to you.

Let’s work together to create a more sustainable future for the publishing industry.