From little things: printing our marketing material

We believe that from little things, big things grow. It doesn’t matter how large is one’s capacity (as an individual, as a community, as a business), there is always a chance to challenge old habits and find a way that brings a better outcome. For example, rethinking the way we print our marketing material.


‘Meditating Landscapes’ postcard series by EnviroPrint

When we think about finding paths to reduce our negative impacts and use our trade to do ‘better things’, it is easy to feel daunted. Especially if when we look at other organisations like Patagonia (with their organised giving foundation Action Works) or Coffee Collective (and their direct trade projects’ impact). We not only ‘feel smaller’, but indeed, we are actually smaller in terms of influence, trade, revenue and possibly profit. And so is the scale of our ‘impact projects’.

But this doesn’t hold us back from trying and re-looking at how we do certain things, because we believe that by working at a small level, one can change the bigger picture. It is like the collective buzz of every single bee in a colony. This philosophy inspired us to change the way we produced our printed marketing materials. We know it is a tiny thing, but it represents the way we want to run the company from the bottom up.

Printed branded media is really hard to justify, environmentally speaking. It is practically useless except for the organisation’s solely growth of its brand awareness. This is why we thought that any of printing activities needed to be updated so their environmental and social impact was the best possible.

We do most of our printing media (labels, stickers, menus and coffee info cards) in house. We use FSC certified paper for all of them. The changing menus are printed weekly in recycled brown paper. Our printer, Fuji Xerox, is the most progressive in terms of end-of-life product and non-aggressive inks that we have found in the market. So pretty good on this end.

Out of the warehouse, we need to print some greeting postcards and stickers every now and then. For regular cards, we used a standard printing company if not the closest Officeworks. In the past, we’ve done a few runs of ‘fancy’ stickers using a US-based company which has a very good reputation for their quick service and quality of finish. But why order just a few labels from the other side of the Pacific when we can use someone from here? And what type of materials are used? What will happen to them once the user is over it? This issue needed to be challenged.


Seeded postcards by Paper Go Round

Spending a bit of time researching, studying samples and looking at quotes, we found our solution. Here is what we did:

  • Some of our greeting postcards were printed in house using seeded paper postcards from Paper Go Round. Once the customer receives the message, they can plant the paper and grow a thyme plant. Pretty cool.

  • For our latest run of the Meditating landscapes postcards, we’ve used Sydney-based Enviroprint and their 100% recycled post-consumer and carbon-neutral 350gsm paper.

  • Our new ‘Cup of Nature’ stickers have been printed by Black Rainbow Printing, based in Victoria and using a great deal of renewable energy on their facilities. And even better, they are fully compostable - the best end of life that a ‘useless’ sticker could have, in our opinion!

From little things…


‘Cup of Nature’ compostable stickers by Black Rainbow Printing



All journal entries