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Sustainable Labels & Printing Supplies: How (and Why) to Switch

switching to sustainable labels

Choosing the right labels, ink, printers, paper stock, cartridges, and other supplies is important. Companies today are looking for green alternatives, ways to be more sustainable, ideas to help protect the environment, and options that decrease their carbon footprints.

So why not set a good example and build confidence with your customers by switching to more sustainable printing practices? 

That could mean:
  • removing toxic chemicals that harm the environment,
  • choosing recyclable paper,
  • using compostable ink cartridges,
  • and reducing product volume, weight and packaging. 

And switching to eco-friendly options could actually increase the lifespan of your supplies, decreasing costs and boosting productivity. 


Avoiding Single-Use Consumables

Labels and RFID inlays can be thought of as printing consumables, that is, supplies that are used in high numbers and designed for one use only. They have short lifespans, and therefore, avoiding them can bring a major opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

And luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice on quality to switch to sustainable printing. Check out Zebra’s five initiatives for environmentally sustainable supplies:


  1. Recycled content --- print supplies made using post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials
  2. Packaging reduction --- getting rid of shrink wrap and/or bubble wrap
  3. Recyclable, compostable and biodegradable: --- materials made with potato starch, bio-based synthetics, paper-based RFID inlays and labels, recyclable polyethylene packaging
  4. Eliminating hazardous materials --- choosing BPA-free and phenol-free print supplies
  5. Reduced product volume --- opting for linerless labels and PET liners

Not all paper labels are recyclable. Despite popular misconception, for most paper labels to be recycled, the adhesive must be removed from the paper pulp; a difficult process. And some liners are actually made with silicone, which means they are non-recyclable. 

That’s why choosing printers that work with linerless labels is a great choice. Linerless labels don’t come with a liner with a release coating, allowing the label to peel away and separate from the adhesive.

Consider the Zebra 8000D linerless desktop labels --- which work with the Zebra ZD620 direct thermal printer

Also, whenever possible, avoid using materials that include BPA/BPS and phenol. These ingredients, common in commercial products like food containers and plastic bottles, harm the aquatic ecosystem when disposed of. They also are hazardous to human life, specifically causing endocrine disruptors to spread throughout the body leading to reproductive health damage and cancers.

These are two big reasons why it’s so important to choose nontoxic and environmentally friendly all zebra labels are bpa freesupplies. All of Zebra’s labels are now BPA-free, and Zebra’s Z-Perform 1000D PF Labels are both BPA and BPS-free.

Over the years, Zebra Technologies has developed printing supplies to provide more eco-friendly printing solutions. Here are a few highlights:


Recycled Materials

The Z-PolyPro 4000D-Eco label has been formulated to be able to be recycled with a PE flexible envelope while keeping its high performance.  


Smaller Packaging

In order to help reduce product volume and packaging, Zebra developed the Z-Perform 2000D Eco Liner, which has a thinner, recyclable PET liner and is made up of 90% PCR materials. There are more labels on the roll, which means fewer rolls for the same number of labels.

zebra dissolvable label in action

Recyclable, Compostable & Biodegradable

The Zebra 8000D Dissolvable Label is a great option to help reduce waste. When placed under running water, the facestock disperses into small paper fibers and the adhesive dissolves away from the surface. This label also comes in a high-temp version that is resistant to temperatures up to 140°F.

The Zebra 8000D Linerless Label has a silicone release top-coating. This label uses a special adhesive that allows it to peel away from the labels with no liner needed. With this label, you can help eliminate liner waste, which is a common issue that you see with standard labels.

The Zebra PolyPro 4000D-E Label, which is currently available in North America and Latin America,zebra polypro 400d label is a specially formulated combination of face stock and adhesive. This combination meets the requirements of the Association of Plastic Recyclers. This printing label can be recycled alongside a polyethylene bubble mailer.


No Hazardous Materials

The Zebra Z-Perform 1000D-E Label is a BPA-free paper. It is made up of 15% recycled post consumer waste. It has the same direct thermal printability and performance as other labels with standard grades. This label is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.



The ZBR2100-E Inlay is 100% plastic-free. This is a paper-based RFID inlay with a laser-cut antenna. Choosing this inlay will help save resources during manufacturing, such as saving water, energy, and greenhouse gasses. This supply is designed with the high-sensitivity UCODE 9 chipset to allow for high read ranges of up to 19m. This product is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.




Reduce waste, shrink your carbon footprint, and lower your impact on the environment; switch to Zebra’s line of sustainable labels and printing supplies. You won’t sacrifice on quality and you won’t regret it! Contact the experts at Symbology Enterprises today to upgrade your supplies.

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