For this blog post I reached out to some great people who know a thing about eco-friendly and sustainable practices. I also had some great chats to the printeries I use about their practices. I wanted to write this blog post to let you know that if you’re trying to leave a small footprint for your wedding - we have many options here in Tasmania, Australia - or should I say worldwide?!
I’m always trying to do my bit - so if you have any constructive feedback or ideas don’t hesitate to message me.
As you can imagine, from printery to printery there are differences in all aspects - not just the paper, but also what inks are used, etc.
However, there is a lot of cross-over. I can work with you to create eco-friendly, sustainable wedding stationery and signage (wedding invitations, wedding menus, etc) that you’re proud of!
So let’s dive into ways to make your wedding stationery eco-friendly and sustainable!
environmentally friendly paper for wedding stationery
Seed paper / plantable paper - seed paper can be planted after use - so your sustainable wedding invite will grow into wildflowers or herbs! This paper is made here in Australia, so it’s not being shipped from other places in the world. Please note: This paper is more costly than other papers discussed in this blog post. There is also generally a longer lead time if you wish to use this paper as it has to be made to the size requested.
Bio range - This paper is made from plant fibres and is compostable, thus providing nutrients to grow new plants. Up to 50% of the bio range is made from resource saving fibres like wheat straw, grass, cotton and yep - even cannabis! The papers in the Bio range contain up to 50% alternative ingredients, augmented with fresh-fiber cellulose that’s always FSC certified. There is also a white card in this range made from 100% recycled paper.
Colour Range - The Colour range has a large variety of colours and different weights available. As well as being fully recyclable, it is biodegradable. It is also heavy metal free and because the bleaching process avoids the use of harmful chlorine, it is classified ECF elemental chlorine free.
Handmade Range - The handmade range is made from 100% recycled cotton rag and it is acid free, chlorine free, bleach free and archival.
Eco Range - The Eco range is a high-quality paper - with plenty of colours to choose from, containing over 40% recycled and 10% Bagasse pulp (from sugar cane).
All papers we use for our wedding stationery and signage are FSC certified. The paper purchased from Australian paper merchants assures that all the paper they source is FSC.
This means that the pulp from forests are certified as sustainably managed, where new trees are planted to replace those that are felled. It also means that the wood used to make the pulp does not come from regions where land rights are abused, trees are illegally felled, or forests are subject to special protection.
The wood does not come from genetically manipulated trees, plantations built on cleared natural forests, or forests that were cut down so the land could be used for other purposes.
You can have a clear conscious knowing that our FSC stock has been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner. Find more out here: https://au.fsc.org/
sustainable wedding stationery
Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with being eco-friendly. Are our raw materials running out with the mass amount of paper used? As above, the paper companies we use are always trying to be innovative and look at alternatives - such as cotton liners and hemp fibres as these plants renew themselves annually and provide new supplies.
Have a look at what our most popular paper supplier have done:
Invested in 1.6 million dollars in the world’s first ozone-based purification plant. They did this voluntarily - without any economic incentive. They have reduced water consumption from circa 70 litres per kilogram to 20. The water is cleansed and re-used up to 7 times during the production process. Then it is cleansed a final time: all residual dye is removed in a complicated in-house process. Then it is pumped to the local water-purification plant, where it is restored as drinking water quality before being piped into the meadows around the river. They have not fed any wastewater into the river since 1965.
They generate up to 75% of their power themselves and are not dependant on a national grid. It is generated in the traditional way - using water as a renewable resource. They don’t buy environmentally friendly energy, they make it.
environmentally friendly ink for wedding stationery and signage
Let’s chat about ink! Ok so, ink often gets over-looked when chatting about eco-friendly or sustainable options for wedding stationery and signage. After spending a long time researching this - I can see why!
It’s such a complex area that is debated in every aspect. Ultimately, there’s a lot to consider and it’s up to you as to what you feel comfortable with.
According to my research, the inks that are marketed as eco-friendly are soy, uv, water-based or vegetable based. However these inks are not possible for all printeries to use and it comes down to a variety of factors: cost, supply, if the ink is appropriate for the printer and if the ink produces the result required. The types of inks my printeries used are uv, water based, toner and oil-based inks for letterpress.
Uv ink does not contain solvents that evaporate and release volatile organic compounds, which are considered harmful to the environment. The cure instead takes place as a result of the interaction of the ink ingredients with a strong ultraviolet (UV) light.
Water based inks are environmentally friendly as they are free of harsh chemicals or solvents that the user can inhale. Water-based inks are also easier to clean up after printing as they require no harmful clean up after printing - just water. At Blossie we use water based inks for all of our paper signage printing and some of our invitation printing.
I want to note - toner and oil-based inks (for letterpress) our printeries use are not evil just because they are not marketed as green. In fact, it is collected and recycled and a resource recovery certificate is given to acknowledge this by Close the Loop.
Close the Loop is committed to zero waste to landfill for all products processed on site. “Close the Loop’s proprietary technologies and recovery processes, separates materials to a new useable form ensuring the security of your product and its core elements.
At the end of the process all material is recovered and put back into the commodities market – actually closing the material loop. Close the Loop understands the best form of recycle is first reuse. Our processes include being able to disposition product and provide the received product or products back into the supply chain.” [https://www.closetheloop.com.au/service/reuse]
For letterpress stationery soy is usually marketed as the greenest ink out there. But after reading different things, quite a bit of it comes down to how it’s marketed. I thought Boxcar Press put this well:
“Soy sheet-fed ink has to be just 20% soy to be labeled a soy ink (the exact % of soy varies depending on the specific ink).
Rubber-based and oil-based inks both have 20-30% vegetable-oil (soy and linseed). Linseed oil is the traditional letterpress ink vehicle: it’s what Gutenberg used when he first used ink.
Also keep in mind that soy inks are really geared toward high speed printing and loaded with lots of driers—they’re usually very thin, liquidy inks, not ideal for letterpress.
In our experience, soy inks don’t transfer well to letterpress printing, and you’ll get the same environmental impact from using oil-based or rubber-based inks.” [https://www.boxcarpress.com/faqs/which-is-a-more-environmental-ink-soy-ink-oil-based-ink-or-rubber-based-ink/].
There’s a lot of information on soy vs. rubber based inks out there, so I suggest you research it to see what you’re comfortable with. If you don’t want to use any ink you can also blind letterpress!
Speaking of letterpress (and foil), I’m yet to write about the exact metal plates that our printeries use and how they are recycled, but this is another thing to take into consideration. This section will be updated once I have all of the correct information (feel free to do your own research on this in the meantime!).
the cost of environmentally friendly wedding stationery
Cost. An icky topic, but I’m going to address it.
I know getting a bargain is great, especially as everything adds up for a wedding and you have a budget to stick to. But does it still sit well with you if it’s not environmentally friendly?
If your stationery is cheap - chances are it is not being produced in Australia and that the print work is being sent to China, Vietnam or India.
“Overseas production and packaging or printed goods does not necessarily adhere to those same set of standards, frequently the production of their pulp and paper are not certified or produced in an environmentally considered manner”. [Morgan printing]
Also, there is a huge environmental impact on shipping these printed goods internationally, which should be taken in to consideration.
In Australia printeries must adhere to the highest standards. “Water run off must be managed, chemical use and disposal of product in a certain manner.”[Morgan printing]
There is a reason your paper costs more here than it does there. The Australian Government has specific Work Health and Safety Policies that they must adhere to, in order to keep things safe for everyone.
awesome things our printeries and paper suppliers are doing
Off cuts are recycled, donated to schools to use, or if offcuts are big enough they’re sold to designers at a fraction of the cost! Side note: with Blossie’s off-cuts I keep them in a box to create cards from, as well as give them to children to get crafty with! Making confetti is another great option if you have left-over paper.
If scrap paper is not big enough to re-sell or reuse it is collected carefully and sorted according to colour. This material is then recycled using only water and no chemicals, then returned to the paper pulp in the next appropriate production run.
Packaging is eco friendly - compostable mailing bags, eco bubble wrap, cardboard boxes.
a few tips to make your wedding stationery more eco-friendly
Consider creating a wedding website for your wedding details / rsvp - or one or the other. This means you don’t need an extra card. You could have a small business-sized card that reads something like:
“For more wedding details and to rsvp by the -insert date- head to -wedding website-, or you could have a double sided invitation, like the below (*You don’t have to have two bits of paper duplexed to print double-sided).
Or how about an invitation and a details card, but get rid of the rsvp card and add a section to rsvp on your details card?
Send out a postcard style Save The Date, that way you don’t require envelopes!
I love creating stationery suites and I know each couple will be different in what they want. The above are just other options to think about. As well as the options above, we’re also committed to planting a tree each order (using onetreeplanted.org) and I recycle my packaging or use eco-friendly alternatives.
Love, Han x