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Love a Tree Day: 5 Ways to Do Direct Mail Sustainably 

National Love a Tree Day is upon us, and here at PebblePost, we’re big fans of trees. We consciously reduce environmental waste by providing brands with a sustainable marketing solution without sacrificing performance. 

We thought we’d take the opportunity to create some awareness about how brands can preserve these magnificent, benefit-producing plants when partnering with or engaging in printed marketing materials like direct mail by sharing some helpful tips. 

  1. Balance creative outcomes with sustainability

Not all print marketing assets are created equal. For example, graphics in a physical store or office don’t lend themselves to sustainable material. Factors such as temperature changes might warrant using synthetic materials that aren’t biodegradable. 

The best approach is to work backward from your desired marketing outcome. Most often, you can source environmentally sustainable materials. Anything printed on paper, for instance, is 100% recyclable and will biodegrade on its own no matter what. Ink with a water-based coating is also fully recyclable (although not if you add lamination). So sustainable direct mail is entirely achievable.

  1. Know your responsibly managed forests 

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” sang Joni Mitchell in her song Big Yellow Taxi written almost 50 years ago. In modern-2023 language, if there isn’t a way to make money from a forest, someone will come along and repurpose it into a shopping center, a new neighborhood, or something else to create revenue. And once you clear the forest, there’s no going back. 

But the land remains a forest if it is responsibly managed and monetized. Healthy forests boost carbon dioxide absorption, provide clean air and water, provide a habitat for wildlife, and create jobs in rural areas. When demand for sustainable direct mail and print marketing occurs, it ensures a renewable resource is kept intact.

  1. Work with sustainable direct mail partners 

Ensure your direct mail partners adhere to and partner with businesses that meet print sustainability certifications and best practices as best they can. 

Vendors with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain-of-Custody (COC) Certification undergo annual audits to ensure the timber used in print production is sourced from responsibly managed forests or other controlled sources and is traceable through the entire manufacturing process up to distribution. One of PebblePost’s sustainable direct mail printing partners obtains over 95% of its paper materials from FSC-certified sources. They also belong to the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), which holds them to environmental operating standards and ensures they continuously strive toward building a more accountable, sustainable printing and packaging supply chain. 

  1. Target timely print marketing messages to cut waste

If your print marketing messages need to be revised, you must create and send out more, which wastes paper. 

Programmatic Direct Mail (PDM) helps you quickly engage consumers ready-to-buy with compelling offers and calls-to-action (CTA), all neatly packaged in a 4×6 square. Optimizing these three factors means you don’t need to send out a complex booklet or foil stamping. Instead of all the masses receiving the same message, you’re only engaging the audiences most likely to convert. Pair that with punchy, relevant copy and visually engaging creative, and you can reduce the amount of marketing mail you send by up to 75% without seeing a dip in performance.

  1. Combine sustainable direct mail with digital efforts

Do you know digital advertising can also harm the environment? 

Digital advertising activities generate approximately 3.5% of global greenhouse gasses annually. Estimates show that a single digital ad campaign delivering one million impressions emits the same carbon footprint as a round-trip flight from Boston to London!

By understanding how your target audience wants you to communicate with them, you can better balance the channel mix for your campaigns. This way, you meet consumers where they are and when they’re most receptive— whether at the mailbox or while scrolling on their mobile—and reduce print and digital waste.

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