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1. The rise of sustainable print on demand

Eight best eco-friendly and sustainable print on demand companies

In this ever-evolving digital age, the way we shop and consume is shifting. In fact, more and more businesses and creators are gravitating towards eco-friendly initiatives, especially when it comes to print on demand.

Let's discuss the top eight companies that have been leading the charge for a long time, using sustainable resources, energy-efficient processes, and green-minded ingenuity.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Understand the importance and rise of sustainable print on demand services for eco-conscious brands and creators.

  • Identify criteria that make print on demand companies eco-friendly and sustainable, from the materials they use to their energy-efficient production processes.

  • Dive into the top eight eco-friendly and sustainable brands in 2024, which align profitability with environmental stewardship.

  • Gelato is a leading choice for sustainable print on demand, reinforcing its commitment to eco-friendly practices and global outreach.

  • Learn how to choose a sustainable print on demand partner and explore the benefits of embracing these eco-friendly services for your online store.

The rise of sustainable print on demand

The sustainable print on demand industry is picking up real traction as more and more businesses and creators recognize the crucial role they play in global environmental conservation. This burgeoning industry emerged from a shared desire to match responsibility with profitability.

The concept essentially involves using earth-friendly materials, from FSC-certified paper to water-based inks, and implementing energy-efficient production processes to reduce the overall carbon footprint. As a bonus, it also caters to the growing consumer demand for sustainable products

The success of companies like Gelato speaks volumes about the positive trajectory of this industry.

Why sustainability matters in print on demand

With mounting global concerns about climate change and environmental degradation, the role of sustainability in the print on demand industry has become more pivotal than ever.

Here's why: 

  • Responsible resource usage: Sustainable print on demand companies use eco-friendly materials to reduce the industry's consumption of non-renewable resources.

  • Reducing carbon footprint: By implementing energy-efficient practices, these businesses help shift away from traditional, environment-harming methods, thereby decreasing overall carbon emissions.

  • Waste reduction: Sustainable printing methods are designed to minimize waste, making the industry more environmentally and economically efficient.

  • Consumer demand: Present-day consumers are taking a more active interest in the environmental impact of their purchases. Businesses that adopt sustainable practices are likely to appeal to this growing eco-conscious demographic, gaining a competitive edge in the market. 

By choosing a sustainable print on demand partner, you’re not only making a statement about your company’s values, but you're also proactively participating in conserving the planet for future generations.

Criteria for eco-friendly print on demand companies

When assessing the eco-friendliness of a print on demand company, there are several key factors to consider. These include: 

  • Use of eco-friendly inks: Inks used for printing should be free from toxic materials and harmful chemicals, adhering to strict environmental standards.

  • Sustainable materials: Eco-conscious companies invest in high-quality, durable materials sourced responsibly and with minimal impact on the environment.

  • Energy-efficient production: Production processes should be optimized to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

  • Sustainable packaging: Packaging should be made from recyclable or compostable materials — minimal packaging is even better.

  • Carbon footprint: Businesses should monitor their carbon footprint closely, ideally offsetting emissions through afforestation or investments in renewable energy sources.

  • Certifications: Look for accreditations like the Green Business Certification, Fair Trade, or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Top 10 eco-friendly and sustainable print on demand companies

As the quest for sustainability becomes essential, print on demand service providers are stepping up. 

The following 10 companies strike a balance between quality products and environmental responsibility, aiming to reduce their carbon footprint while delivering excellent services.

1. Gelato

Gelato homepage

Gelato stands out in the print on demand industry by embodying sustainability at its core. The company champions a unique model: sell globally and produce locally. With the world's largest network of local production hubs, Gelato ensures that ecommerce sellers can produce merchandise near their end destination. 

This approach streamlines operations by reducing waste, emissions, and delivery times and negates the need for inventory management, presenting an efficient, smart, and greener solution.

  • Free Plan - $0/forever

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  • Gold - $119/month, or $1185/year

  • Platinum - Bespoke pricing model

Sustainability initiatives

Gelato's commitment to a sustainable future is evident in its operational model and the strategic initiatives it undertakes. By fostering local production, the company significantly slashes waste, reduces carbon footprints, and supports local economies.

Its software-driven network guarantees consistent quality globally, ensuring that products are manufactured and shipped from locations closest to customers. This not only expedites delivery but also reinforces Gelato's pledge to environmental stewardship and community empowerment.

The overall best choice

Gelato's global network of local production hubs underscores a genuine commitment to reducing environmental impact and fostering local economies. 

This, coupled with its innovative use of technology to ensure product quality and efficiency, positions Gelato as a standout choice for those seeking to balance business growth with ecological and social responsibility.


TPOP homepage

With a staunch commitment to eliminating plastic from its shipping process, TPOP packages its products in recyclable cardboard sleeves or soft sleeves made from recycled material. 

This commitment extends to its printing processes, where TPOP utilizes 100% eco-certified water-based inks, highlighting its dedication not just to sustainability but also to the health of both customers and the planet.


TPOP is free to use.

Sustainability initiatives

TPOP's environmental commitments are profound and varied:

  1. Plastic-free shipping: Pioneering the field with all products shipped without plastic, opting instead for high-quality recyclable or recycled packaging.

  2. Eco-friendly materials: A significant portion of their catalog consists of products with eco-responsible labels, emphasizing organic cotton and recycled textiles to minimize water consumption and re-utilize fibers.

  3. Environmentally friendly inks: Utilizing water-based inks certified by OEKO-TEX® ECO PASSPORT and GOTS 5.0, ensuring safety for both skin and environment.

  4. Supporting circular consumption: Advocating for a print on demand model that challenges mass production, TPOP helps reduce the potential for unsold stock, thereby conserving resources and promoting a more sustainable consumption pattern.

3. Shirtigio

Shirtigio homepage

Through print on demand, Shirtigo ensures that only the necessary textiles are printed, thereby eliminating overproduction and reducing the environmental footprint of the conventional textile industry. This approach not only conserves resources but also cuts down on CO2 emissions by eliminating unnecessary transit to storefronts or warehouses.


Shirtigio is free to use.

Sustainability initiatives

Shirtigo's commitment to sustainability is evidenced through several key initiatives:

  1. Eco-friendly printing machines and inks: Utilizing DTG printing machines that consume up to 95% less water and 60% less energy compared to traditional printing methods alongside eco-friendly inks certified by OEKO-TEX® ECO PASSPORT and GOTS 5.0.

  2. Packaging recycling: All transport packaging is licensed with the Green Dot, aligning with obligations according to packaging laws and promoting recycling.

  3. Transparent and fair supply chain: Emphasizing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ensuring safe, decent working conditions and fair wages through rigorous supply chain checks.

  4. Green electricity: Sourcing 100% renewable energy for production, thereby conserving fossil resources and avoiding radioactive waste.

  5. Climate-neutral shipping: Partnering with DHL GoGreen to offset greenhouse gasses through climate protection projects.

4. Printful

Printful homepage

Printful embraces the ambitious mission to transform on-demand manufacturing into a global standard for a world of limited resources and boundless creativity. Recognizing the substantial environmental footprint of the fashion industry, Printful is dedicated to making progressive strides toward sustainability.

Their commitment is evident in their meticulous sustainability timeline, showcasing their efforts to reduce waste and promote ethical practices in manufacturing.


Printful offers a membership model that includes a Free 14-day trial, followed by a subscription at $24.99/month

Sustainability initiatives

Printful's journey towards a more sustainable future is marked by several key initiatives:

  1. Reducing overproduction: By focusing on on-demand production, Printful significantly cuts down on waste, ensuring that only what is needed is made.

  2. Ethical partnerships: Collaborations with organizations like Geocycle and Martex to process fabric waste responsibly and a partnership with Sedex for ethical trade practices.

  3. Eco-friendly products: Launching recycled all-over print products and introducing natural certified skincare products, Printful broadens the choice for consumers seeking sustainable options.

  4. Sustainability in action: Through actions like switching to triangle poster boxes without plastic caps and recycling over 787,524 lb. of products in 2022, Printful demonstrates its commitment to environmental responsibility.

  5. Local fulfillment: Fulfilling and shipping 84% of orders locally, thereby reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation.

5. Jungle Culture

Jungle Culture homepage

Jungle Culture is deeply committed to fostering sustainable practices and supporting small, rural manufacturers in developing communities, particularly in Ben Tre, Vietnam. Known for converting discarded coconut shells into beautiful, natural bowls, Jungle Culture not only contributes to waste reduction but also helps local farmers and artists gain a valuable secondary income. 


Jungle Culture is free to use.

Sustainability initiatives

Jungle Culture's approach to sustainability is multifaceted, emphasizing environmental conservation, community support, and cultural preservation:

  1. Waste reduction and utilization: By repurposing coconut shells that would otherwise be discarded or burned, Jungle Culture significantly reduces waste and environmental pollution.

  2. Supporting local communities: The initiative provides much-needed secondary income for farmers and employs local artists, fostering job creation and community development in Ben Tre.

  3. Sustainable irrigation: The geographical setting of Ben Tre, with its network of waterways stemming from the Mekong River, enables organic irrigation practices that minimize external water use.

  4. Adaptation and awareness: The company's operations in a region vulnerable to flooding and climate change underscore the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship to the local community.

6. Teemill

Teemill homepage

By creating products from natural materials like organic cotton in renewable energy-powered factories, Teemill ensures that each product is designed with its end life in mind, aiming to be returned and remade into new items. This approach significantly reduces waste and promotes a sustainable life cycle for fashion products.


Teemill offers two subscription plans:

  • Free plan: €0

  • Teemill Pro: €9 per month

Sustainability initiatives

Teemill's commitment to a sustainable future is evidenced by several key initiatives:

  1. Zero waste production: Emphasizes the importance of designing products that can be returned and remade, thus keeping materials in use and out of landfills.

  2. Use of organic materials: Teemill products are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, which is grown using methods that have a lower environmental impact and create healthier working conditions for farmers.

  3. Renewable energy: Teemill's operations are powered by renewable energy sources, including solar power and wind farms, to minimize carbon emissions.

  4. Water conservation: Implements closed-loop water systems in the dyeing process, ensuring that water is recovered, cleaned, and reused.

  5. Plastic-free packaging: Aims to eliminate plastic waste by using paper-based packaging materials that are either recyclable or made from recycled content.

7. Contrado

Contrado homepage

Contrado is recognized for its innovative approach to fashion and custom products, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. They aim to minimize their environmental impact through responsible production practices and by fostering an increased awareness of sustainability and eco-friendliness among their customers.


Contrado is free to use.

Sustainability initiatives
  1. Made to order: Contrado begins manufacturing products only after an order is placed, eliminating overproduction and reducing waste. This model ensures that no items must be destroyed to maintain brand value.

  2. Local production: All products are made in a single facility, keeping shipping costs and carbon emissions low by eliminating the need for multiple transit points.

  3. Sustainable production: The company strives to use minimal water in its manufacturing processes and collaborates with local water boards to ensure proper ink waste disposal, preventing environmental contamination.

  4. Sustainable products: Contrado is continually expanding its range of eco-friendly products, including items made from vegan, natural, biodegradable, organic, and recycled materials. They prioritize local sourcing and use FSC-certified materials whenever possible.

  5. Waste management: Fabric waste is minimized by offering remnants to crafters and DIY enthusiasts, promoting repurposing and creativity in using materials.

8. Ecomerch

Ecomerch homepage

EcoMerch, established in 2006, has been dedicated to transforming the print industry towards sustainability. Their mission encompasses using low-impact print methods and sustainable materials to prove that environmentally conscious practices can also be commercially viable. 

Over the years, EcoMerch has focused on educating customers about the benefits of organic over conventional cotton and has advocated for sustainable garments in the wholesale market.


It's free to use.

Sustainability initiatives

EcoMerch has adhered to several key principles since its inception:

  1. Net carbon positive studio: Achieved since 2014, emphasizing their commitment to reducing carbon footprint.

  2. Zero waste to landfill: Maintained since 2009, ensuring all waste is repurposed or recycled.

  3. Rejection of conventional cotton and virgin plastics: Since 2006, EcoMerch has not offered any products made from conventional cotton or virgin plastics, focusing instead on sustainable alternatives.

  4. Exclusive use of 100% water-based inks: Since 2006, only water-based inks are used in the printing process to minimize environmental impact.

  5. Sustainable embroidery process: Since the introduction of embroidery in 2022, no virgin plastics have been used in the process.

Choosing a sustainable print on demand partner for your online store

When picking a sustainable print on demand (POD) partner for your online store, there are a few key factors you should consider. Not only should your choice be guided by pricing and product range but also by the company's commitment to environmental stewardship. 

Here's what to look for: 

  • Eco-friendly materials: The best POD companies prioritize using recycled or organic materials in their products. This reduces landfill waste and has less impact on natural resources.

  • Sustainable production: Energy-efficient production processes help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Companies may use renewable energy sources or offset their carbon emissions.

  • Green packaging: Look for companies that use minimal packaging made from recycled or compostable materials to lessen waste.

  • Transparent supply chains: It's important to choose a POD company that is open about its supply chain, ensuring that workers are treated fairly and that environmental policies are adhered to at every step.

Embrace sustainable print on demand with Gelato

Let us open a new chapter in your eco-friendly merchandising journey. With Gelato's print on demand platform, you can offer your customers a wide array of products, such as trendy t-shirts, coffee mugs, captivating wall art, sleek phone cases, and picture-perfect photo books, each produced with meticulous respect for our environment. 

Our offerings aren't just sustainable but also exude quality, leading to customer satisfaction. 

Sign up for Gelato today and choose a subscription plan that aligns with your needs and goals.


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