Direct Mail with a Green Message


Compostable mail is returned to the earth for the ultimate in sustainability.

Once direct mail, marketing collateral, or other printed materials have been read, there are multiple ways to keep them out of the landfill. Most people automatically think about recycling, but what about composting? It’s a little unconventional, but composting has lots of benefits. 

Consumers place a high priority on doing business with companies that are sustainably focused. The more you can bring out your sustainability message, the better.  

What, exactly, does “compostable” mean? Compostable means that when exposed to air and water the item will decompose, leaving only nutrients that can be returned to the earth. In the world of print, these components include the substrate, the inks and coatings, and any glues or adhesives. 

Designed correctly, compostable print materials can be safely placed into a composter or buried in the garden. 

What makes composting a great option? Recycling is important for keeping volume out of landfills and returning fiber back to the circular economy. At the same time, the process uses energy from electricity or fossil fuels. Recycling requires energy to transport the recycling, energy to separate the recyclables into the appropriate streams, energy to break them down into components, and energy to turn them back into new products. With composting, it takes only the human energy to open the top of the compost bin or dig a hole in the dirt and toss the items in.  

The effort to promote compostability is small, but the payoff can be big. Think about the benefit to your sustainability message if you added a small compost logo and tagline to your newsletters or direct mailers saying, “Compost me!” 

What a powerful message!

What changes do you have to make to claim your print materials as compostable? Not much. The elements of the piece must biodegrade naturally, so you need to stay away from the following:
• Metallic inks
• Foil 
• UV coating
• Laminates
• Non-biodegradable adhesives

If you really want to “wow” your customers, there are specialty papers containing seeds that are meant to be composted—by planting them and turning the paper into a flowering garden. 

Love the idea? Let your customers know that you care about the environment and are going above and beyond to do your part. After all, what says, “I care about the earth” more than the word “compost”?



|  Last Updated: 20 October 2022