What Is Print on Demand, and Is It Ecological?

What Is Print on Demand, and Is It Ecological?

From Art to Eco-Friendly Commerce

Given the urgent climate crisis our world faces today, opting to sell physical items might not seem like the most apparent choice. Creating artwork, whether with paints or digitally, brings me immense joy. Sharing my creations by bringing them to life on print on apparel, posters, home textiles, and enhancing everyday items is highly rewarding. This is why I persist in running my shop, with the hope that my art can make a small difference and bring joy to those who appreciate it.

Significantly Reducing Waste by Addressing Overproduction

Many people I've spoken to about Toile de Lina are surprised that I don't keep inventory and handle shipments myself. Instead, the fulfillment of orders is entrusted to an external print-on-demand partner. Let me clarify why I have made this decision.

In today's fashion industry, overproduction has unfortunately become the standard practice. Astonishingly, one out of every five garments ends up in a landfill, never having been worn. Why is this the case? The root cause lies in bulk production, a cost-saving strategy favored by many fashion companies. Even for seasoned fashion experts, accurately predicting ever-shifting consumer trends is a daunting challenge, resulting in the unnecessary accumulation of excess apparel. This is precisely why a Toile de Lina design is only printed when a customer places an order through our partner. 

While it's true that print on demand may impact profit margins compared to ordering items in bulk and handling shipping personally, the environmental benefits are undeniable. Producing on a per-order basis is estimated to reduce environmental harm by at least 20%.

Sustainability through Proximity: Reducing Carbon Footprint

Toile de Lina recently transitioned from being a French-based print-on-demand provider to a global one, a change aimed at enhancing the shop's environmental impact. Locating printing facilities close to customers results in a substantial reduction in carbon emissions. With the current print provider, an impressive 84% of orders are fulfilled in the same region where the customer resides.

Eco-Friendly Selection & Lasting Quality

The shop's selection has been meticulously curated with a focus on quality, sustainability, and durability, featuring materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. While some items, such as all-over-print designs, may not be fully organic or eco-friendly certified, they still offer a more sustainable choice compared to standard options. Printing is carried out by Kornit, a leader in environmentally conscious printing technology, using Oeko-Tex‚ĄĘ certified inks. Additionally, orders are shipped in packaging made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, with precautions taken to prevent damage during transit.


Tripple Burning Heart - Organic Baseball Cap
Unlimited Color Embroidery
A highlight from the econscious selection: This Organic Baseball Cap is crafted from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton. The hearts are stitched to the cap, rather than printed. 
DTG  Printers
Most of the items in the shop are printed with DTG Printing which stands for Direct-to-Garment Printing. It is a technique involving the jetting or spraying of special aqueous inks from print heads directly onto the surface of textiles. Each item is meticulously printed one by one by a skilled print technician.
PCR Mailers
Recycled Me Again

PCR plastic is made from everyday recyclables like plastic bottles. Recycled content saves raw materials and requires less energy to produce. 

Sustainable Fashion Practices Followed by the Print Shop

Waste Reduction Bin
  • Another crucial aspect is waste reduction.¬†The print shop creates all-over-print products from scratch, which involves printing product parts on fabric rolls, cutting them out, and then sewing them together. Over the years, they have successfully reduced fabric scraps generated from gaps between product cutouts.
  • The print shop¬†also follow recycling and upcycling practices for damaged products and unclaimed product returns. Whenever possible, products in good condition are donated to minimize waste.

Toile de Lina's path to sustainability is an ongoing work in progress. The aim is to continually seek ways to improve, driven by the belief that small steps, when taken collectively, bring about significant change.

Thank you for reading to the end and for supporting this small creative business! 
Silver HeartsAs a token of appreciation, I'm providing you with the 'Materials Cheat Sheet,' which will hopefully offer practical insights on fabric selection and how to better care for your garments, extending their longevity. 
-Lina  Silver Hearts 

Sources: Business Insider & Global Fashion Agenda

Materials cheat sheet: sustainable fabrics

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