Three Eco-Friendly Print Finishing Options


Print finishing services can make ordinary marketing pieces pop. Whether it’s helping packaging and labels stand out on crowded retail shelves or enticing people to open direct mail pieces, print finishing helps capture consumers’ attention.

But with ever-growing concerns over climate change and sustainability, most companies want their printed materials to be not only eye-catching, but also eco-friendly. However, adding embellishments can raise questions about the recyclability and sustainability of finished products. The key is to keep your customers informed and provide options for services that lessen any negative impacts on the environment. Read on for information about three environmentally-friendly print finishing options—UV coatings, foil stamping, and embossing/debossing—that you can share with your eco-minded customers.

UV Coatings 

Adding UV coatings undoubtedly adds value to any marketing piece. With a wide range of textures, colors, clarity and scents available, the uses of UV coatings are endless. But many people believe adding UV coatings affects the recyclability of the finished product. This is actually a common misconception, as paper finished with UV coatings can still be recycled. In addition, UV coatings are not harmful to the environment, as they are solvent-free and don’t produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can pollute the air and contaminate drinking water.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping, applying flat or embossed foil with heat and pressure, can give a brand’s marketing pieces an appealing, sophisticated look. Like UV coatings, foil sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to the environment; many people believe that they have to choose between aesthetics and recyclability. But the good news is that these concerns are unfounded. According to a recent study done by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA), foil-decorated paper and board are recyclable, as the foil doesn’t create any problems in the repulping process used to create recycled paper. This applies to decorated products produced via hot foil, cold foil, or digital foil transfer processes.


Embossing gives designs a three-dimensional look and creates a tactile experience. It is a great way to emphasize company logos, illustrations, or patterns. While embossing uses a die to raise an image off the paper, debossing creates an imprint, resulting in a depressed effect. Because embossing and debossing do not affect the recyclability of the paper, these can be great options for creating pieces that will not only stand out, but that are also eco-friendly. What’s more, these processes are the most budget-friendly finishing options.

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