Environmentally-friendly mail

15th January 2019

The printing industry as a whole has a fairly large impact on the environment. However, there are a series of steps that can be taken to ensure that your mail is as environmentally friendly as possible.

At Howard Hunt, we take our environmental responsibility very seriously and recognise that it is equally important for our clients. Coupled with detailed Environmental and CSR policies which cover a range of commitments to the management of our environment, we also have a dedicated Environmental Division that is led by our Executive Team. This division is ultimately responsible for ensuring that EMS requirements are established, implemented and maintained as part of our ISO 14001 commitments and for making recommendations for improvement of the EMS to the Board.

In this article, we have evaluated how the end consumer feels about print and the environment and subsequently highlighted several elements for the consideration of both you and your printer when planning your direct mail campaign.

Clean Data

Regularly updating and cleansing your mailing data to helps to avoid duplication and significantly reduces waste. In the UK each year, 1.5million households move and there are roughly 500,000 deaths, so your data can become outdated very quickly. Our Complete Guide to Data Hygiene provides you with comprehensive advice on this.

Audience’s Expectation

Consider who you are marketing to and their expectations of you. Charities are a great example of how to do this well. They promote their ethical standards using recycled stocks and encourage end user recycling.


Profiling your recipients and conducting research on your audience helps to determine whether your message is relevant to them. Advertising your product or service to an audience that has no interest in them is a waste of time, money and resources.


Using recycled paper is always a good place to begin. Using paper that is certified by independent, third-party organisations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) enable you to be sure that the materials used to produce the paper were obtained using forestry practices that are intended to reduce environmental impact. You can also opt to print on both sides of paper to save resources and reduce mailing costs.


Using water-based, agri-based or soy-based inks also aids the recyclability of your mail as they are easily stripped away from paper. These inks are also considerably less harmful to the environment.


Adhesives can be difficult to break down during the recycling process, so you can cut down on the use of them by using intelligent formats such as self-mailers. This way, you don’t need an envelope and can easily incorporate a return device within this. Address labels can be eliminated by printing your recipients’ details directly onto the mailer. Postage indicias can also be used to avoid using bulk mail stamps that have adhesive backings.

Work with the Manufacturer

Every print production business boasts its own unique suite of equipment to manufacture your printed communications. Work with your printer collaboratively to understand how to best make use of the paper and process. This will maximise the use of material and potentially save you some money along the way.

To talk to us about how we can help you create an environmentally-friendly direct mail campaign, call our experts on 01322 414 000 or click here to send us a message via our contact form.