Reasons of Why Your Pod Business is not Sustainable yet and How to Resolve Them

The last decade has become a landmark in the awareness of consumption principles. That has prompted the emergence of a new model of the fashion industry, namely sustainable fashion. Its concept focuses on workers' rights and operating conditions in manufacturing and monitors the industry's impact on the environment. Almost every year, negative emotions storm arises in public from heartbreaking shots with the mass market production secrets. As a result, the trust level in the brand falls, and all it can do is rethinking its behavior towards sustainability. The elimination of some toxic agents, materials, household items, and technologies recycling are basic sustainability ingredients. 

Print on demand is one of the few eco-friendly types of clothing production. And this is not only because it doesn't imply replication or uses digital image analogs. Such printing advantage lies primarily in materials: non-toxic toners and plant-based inks, fabrics, glass, and even plastic. What can we say about a lack of warehouses, automated energy-efficient equipment, and minimal emissions? Online stores using POD services don't need physical warehouses - the item comes to the end consumer directly from the supplier. That significantly reduces our carbon footprint. At the same time, the suppliers' location varies depending on the customers' region/country. 

Maintaining a sustainable image through action makes a huge contribution to brand development. After all, a conscious life has become a current generation trend. If you have your print on demand business and are still hesitant about taking it to the next level, read further how to become a sustainable company and maintain your identity. 

Table of contents 

Eco-friendly print on demand business - opportunities for everybody

Invest in the right changes: eco-friendly supplier, sustainable process, etc.


Sustainable fashion promotes environmental changes. It also solves workers' social problems (low wages, poor working conditions) in the industry. So, from surveys of two developing generations - zoomers and millennials, they begin to abandon unsustainable brands and are ready to pay even more for environmentally friendly products. And all for the sake of maintaining cleanliness on the planet and improving the quality of life.

In turn, entrepreneurs understand that they need to do what the audience asks for, not just use marketing buzzwords to calm them down. For example, the British brand Boohoo launched its first collection from recycled materials while having a failed sustainability start. It announced the cessation of the wool using, and after loud criticism that it's a relatively stable fiber, canceled the decision

People will always need clothes, especially those which emphasize their identity and are an integral part of their image. The industry is starting to revive thanks to the environmentally friendly movements of many well-known companies. They take responsibility for their influence on the world while becoming more resilient through alternatives to the traditional model of mass production and sales. 

92 million tons of textiles are lost in the industry and are constantly becoming unnecessary. And this state of affairs noticeably changes the market development tendency for all its players. 

If you're producing print on demand products, then you'd emphasize their benefits. After all, the difference between a POD business and large retailers is producing significantly fewer wastes. Because of the savings in money, the mass market manufactures goods in huge quantities. Meanwhile, POD assumes printing only after pre-ordering, which avoids overproduction and subsequent things burning. 

Take, for example, clothing designers. Their possibilities are endless when creating designs: digital printing is a dream come true. It doesn't involve boring color separation on a depressingly small number of screens. On the contrary, a drawing on paper with watercolors can be ideally reproduced through POD companies with all the nuances on any subject, not to mention clothing. Soon, the designer himself can become the business owner and receive the royalties equivalent in the form of profit. The only thing is to conduct marketing on platforms like Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, and others. Here again, the process is simplified as much as possible because there are platforms (for example, PodZa) that automate all sales, delivery, and marketing processes. In any case, you can even ask the software manufacturer to add some options.

The awareness of the two leading generations is directly related to their lifestyle. They want to look comfortable and stylish. Take Gen Z fashion: yoga pants, must-have hoodies, sportswear, oversized trench coats, high-end sneakers, and wide-leg pants. Where do they order all this? Well, of course, in online stores. It’s profitable, quickly, efficiently, individually, without leaving home or being influenced by sellers, and so on. The advantages are beyond counting, and the pleasant bonus is environmentally friendly! Eco-friendly POD companies are in demand, mainly if they produce fresh new designs. Young people prefer to wear simple yet unique and personalized items. 

how to stay eco-friendly

According to forecasts, the fashion market value will rise to an estimated US $759.466 billion in 2021. That is good news for business owners but also very troublesome for the environment. But the world hasn't strived to be as environmentally friendly for a long time as it’s now. 

The main problem is pollution from the production of things. That's easy to understand with an ordinary cotton T-shirt. Write down the recipe for making. So, you'll need 1 kg of cotton, 2000 liters of water, hectares of agricultural land on which plants grow, carbon dioxide for transporting and processing fibers. The life cycle of such a thing is enormous, but in the beginning, it can travel thousands of kilometers. Also, the human capital required to produce this one thing cannot be excluded. The environmental impact of just one cotton T-shirt can also seem incredible: farmers often use pesticides to grow plants. Chemicals bleach fabrics, which can also harm the environment. Analog and screen printing uses toxic dyes, which makes a regular t-shirt not so eco-friendly. Finally, when a T-shirt becomes worn out, it ends up in a landfill and burns. Now everyone knows how manufacturers make a comfortable and natural T-shirt. But there is a record number of environmental enthusiasts in the world who're trying to change the production side. 

On a wide variety of e-commerce sites, including Shopify, there are many print on demand providers of eco-friendly standardized products. When looking for such suppliers, pay attention to the availability of checking for harmful substances: PETA Vegan, OEKO-TEX license. The Fair Wear Foundation works to improve the working conditions of people in the industry. 

Ask print on demand suppliers how they produce sustainable clothing. For example, the same cotton T-shirt, that we talked about, some manufacturers make differently. The farm uses unmodified plant seeds and doesn't spray them with pesticides. Farmers use crop rotation, a natural planting method that assumes biodiversity and eliminates any harm to soil and workers. 

Sustainable print on demand companies has become very popular in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. For example, Doc Cotton (Peckham, London) manufactures organic cotton garments using 3D printing. The brand has moved away from the established traditions of the mass market and creates innovative fashion products. 

The sustainability trend of the past few years has had a significant impact on the fashion industry. Of course, giant companies continue to burn tons of clothes, ignore working conditions and workers' rights. They ultimately pollute the planet with industrial wastes. While remaining at public gunpoint condemnation, they sign a verdict for themselves. The strategy of covering up with new eco-friendly collections doesn't inspire trust among potential buyers. 

Printing on demand is another matter. The model assumes a sparing attitude to human resources and environmental friendliness of all decisions. It’s maximally beneficial for manufacturers, store owners, and consumers. Therefore, the sustainability trend is a breath of fresh air for the fashion industry, a way to save the planet, and a profitable investment.

April 12, 2021
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