Sustainability vs. Affordability in Large Format Printing: The Next Dilemma 

In the past, consumers were often forced to choose between sustainability and affordability. 

It was certainly the case in the printing world – but not anymore.  

Nowadays, thanks to technological advancement, sustainable printing products are becoming more mainstream – and at a more palatable price point. It’s time to debunk the myths about sustainable meaning unaffordable and tell the truth about today’s eco-friendly solutions that are paying marketers back by the spade full.  

Eco-friendly display printing: Time to replace the Vs with AND… 

Most of us are cost-conscious – in our work and home lives. Yet the consumer’s appetite for green solutions has never been greater, and it’s become critical to get the balance between economical and eco-friendly bang on the money. 

It’s not just the products we buy; many of us look to support companies who are truly ‘green’ in every sense of the term – from the production line to logistics and beyond. If you want to project your green image to your potential customers, it starts with your displays! 

Thankfully, there has never been a better time to choose display materials that are both sustainable AND affordable. 

In the old world: sustainable print materials were pricey! 

Sustainable materials are not a new concept. Yet, for creatives and marketers working to tight budgets, it was all too easy to overlook green products because of their cost. And who would want to put forward a campaign they knew was heading for a management knock-back because of its price?    

It wasn’t just cost making life difficult for the display designers and creators but longevity. Eco-friendly paper-based materials might appear sustainable in terms of their recyclability, but what is the real cost when displays made from paper have an extremely limited shelf life?    

The REAL truth about today’s sustainable print materials 

More eco-friendly print materials are on the market nowadays – some greener than others. PET-based fabric, for example, stems from recycled plastic, yet it can only withstand the process a handful of times before it becomes defunct. Perhaps the most common display material for many years, MDF, also has limited recyclability because of the harmful adhesives used in its production. 

At Next, the number one choice of display material in being both sustainable AND affordable is Re-board.   

Why Re-board?
  • Strong and Durable
  • Highly versatile
  • Eco-friendly – infinitely recyclable
  • Supported globally
  • Great ROI
  • Creates jaw-dropping displays!

Why Re-board? 

It is a question many customers put our way: Why buy Re-board when it costs more than other display materials? 

Depending on your project requirements, Re-board may look like a costly option at first glance. 

This is where the total cost of ownership comes into play. 

In terms of its sustainability, Re-board is a clear winner, with infinite recyclability placing it ahead of many other display materials. In addition, the strength and durability of Re-board mean it lasts for years – that’s a longer shelf-life before you even need to think about taking it for recycling. 

And the more outings for your display, the less cost to your marketing budget over time.  

It’s not just how Re-board is produced that makes it sustainable and affordable. There are many invisible long-term costs tied to materials like MDF which you won’t get when you choose Re-board as a base material for your displays. 

  • Light and compact – making the freight costs cheaper
  • Quick to build – meaning less time and people to create your in-store displays
  • Packs away flat – saving you money on storage costs 
  • Recyclable – removing potential charges from 3rd party recyclers 

All things considered, the TCO for Re-board looks brighter than many of its counterparts. And that’s why Next Printing always suggests you build your displays using Re-board! 

Next Printing means sustainable AND affordable displays! 

Next made a decision some ten years ago to go green wherever possible. Our industry is famed for its carbon footprint, and it was critical for our team to reduce our environmental impact by working with eco-friendly solutions like Re-board. 

We know it isn’t easy persuading your budget holder to release funds for materials that look expensive.  Helping to educate your internal teams on why Re-board makes sense both sustainably AND economically is part of our job. 

Our project managers work with you to understand the brief, campaign objectives, and budget before creating a solution to match – including a full breakdown of the TCO to support internal project discussions.  

It’s all part of helping create a better future for everyone.  

Explore the possibilities with Next Printing 

As Australia’s pioneer in sustainable printing, Next Printing is your contractor of choice for high-quality point-of-sale marketing, large-scale exhibits, pop-ups, and signage. Count on our team for more than an incredible print solution – reliability, exceeding expectations, and delivering in record time every time

If you want support from a versatile provider of eco-friendly digital printing solutions that targets your audience and converts sales, arrange a chat with us today. 

Talk to our team 

Recyclable vs Recycled: How many times can materials really be recycled? 

These days, everybody wants to play their part in the green revolution. As consumers become more eco-conscious, so are the businesses creating the products to feed their customers’ ever-greener appetites. And it’s no different in the world of exhibition and retail printing. 

As a sector, we’re taking giant steps towards creating eco-friendly solutions, with more materials available to help marketing teams design and build colourful, durable stand-out displays that also tick the recycled box. 

Yet, just how eco-friendly are these materials used for our product marketing? Just because a material says it is recyclable, how can we be sure it will head for the recycling plant? And, if so, is it repurposed once or infinitely? It seems ‘green’ is still a highly grey area!  

Today, we’re throwing the most common materials used in exhibition and retail printing under the eco-friendly microscope to see which holds up the strongest in a green world. 

Know your recyclables from your recycleds! 

If you’re confused about what materials can be recycled, you’re not alone. So much we think can be recycled isn’t actually recyclable – and disposing of materials incorrectly can lead to contamination of entire truck-loads of waste that may otherwise be saved.  

So, what’s the difference between recyclable and recycled? 

Recyclable definition 

‘Recyclable’ refers to a substance or object that can be recycled.  

Recycled definition 

‘Recycled’ refers to the end-product of a process where waste material becomes a reusable material.  

The most common recyclable materials are paper, plastic, tin and glass. Currently, most recyclables materials cannot go through the recycling process infinitely – for example, the recyclable plastic water bottle, which can only withstand the recycling process a handful of times before the material diminishes in quality.  

Scientists continue working on ways to improve the recycling process and make better use of everyday waste on an infinite cycle. For now, we encourage marketers, print buyers and activation agencies looking for a true green solution to do your homework before you make a purchase. 

Need help from a digital print expert? Talk to our team! 

Which display materials are recyclable? 

As professionals involved in building exhibition and retail displays will attest to, the possibilities for jaw-dropping, immersive creations stretch on and on. With technical advances in shaping, cutting and printing, there is no excuse these days for a dull display – so long as those outlandish ideas stay within the budget! 

Cost will always be critical to the decision-making process, although nowadays, it’s likely that ‘sustainability’ is high on the agenda too. And if a green solution trumps price in your list of priorities, then you need to understand what’s recyclable and what isn’t. 

So, which display materials are actually recyclable? 



As one of the most readily-available materials, paper in some shape or form has long been a favourite to design teams when creating eye-catching point of sale or marketing displays. High-density cardboard, in particular, presents a strong and flexible material for displays and doesn’t break the bank. It is also a great surface to print on, meaning the sky’s the limit with colour and creative scapes. 

Millions of tonnes of paper go through the recycling process every year, with an approximate 70% recycling rate making it the most recycled material on the planet. And that makes it an attractive option to marketers in search of a sustainable material. 

Recycled paperbase is recyclable as many as seven times before it breaks down into fibres that are no longer effective for reuse. And, since many paperbase materials don’t use a binding agent, it makes them biodegradable materials that break down easily once beyond a reusable state. 

Is printed cardboard recyclable? Of the two types, corrugated cardboard is simple to recycle because it is made purely from paper. On the other hand, paperboard is trickier to recycle as its components are bonded by an adhesive. So, make sure you opt for the corrugated cardboard type if you’re wanting a recyclable and biodegradable material. 

MDF (Medium-density Fibreboard) 

Made from a mix of hard or soft wood and a binding agent, MDF is an extremely popular and low-cost material used in all kinds of applications across commercial spaces. You can shape, colour and print on it – high on versatility and low on cost.  Yet, does this predominantly wood-based material make MDF recyclable? 

To an extent, yes – although the process is quite complex. Because it’s produced using recycled wood that’s bound by formaldehyde, MDF requires a specialist recycling machine to break it down safely, first removing the binding agent from the wood. This is a lengthy and costly process, which makes it less common to find among recycling plants. As such, most MDF finds its way into landfill – a not-so-green, planet-saving solution

PET-based fabric

PET – or Polyethylene Terephthalate – is the most common plastic in food packaging and drink bottles. It is preferred by manufacturers because of its 100% recyclability, and goes on to find its way in many more objects used daily, including fabric for clothing, upholstery and displays. 

It’s easy to see why PET-based fabric is a popular choice in displays, with a smooth and water-resistant surface. Yet, like all plastic recycling, PET has its limits and can only withstand the process two or three times before it is defunct. Once repurposed as a fabric, the chance of recycling becomes even less so, thanks to a lack of facilities. Not quite so green as one might think – indeed, any folks looking for a truly sustainable material for exhibition and retail displays. 

PET-based fabric 
A child baring his teeth in a large shark display made from Re-Board.


And then there is Re-Board! 

A relatively recent product introduced to our space, Re-Board looks, feels and operates extremely similar to MDF. In place of wood, though, lies several layers of paper held together tightly by a strong adhesive. The result is a thick board that’s as durable as it is flexible, ready for cutting into all shapes and sizes and for any digital printing design, depending on the application.   

Here’s the real beauty of Re-Board. It is a paperbased material, which gives it a head-start in the recyclable race. Crucially, the adhesive which binds the paper layers together is water-based, so there is no nasty chemical-based glue to remove before it can go through the recycling plant. In other words, it’s a 100% recyclable material, which means its potential for recycling is infinite.  

Structurally sound like MDF, equally flexible for cutting, shaping and printing, and kind to the environment. If it’s a green solution you’re after for your next marketing display – a POS, exhibition stand, media wall, pop-up store, or product activation feature – it could be time to try Re-Board out for size. 


Explore the possibilities with Next Printing 

As Australia’s pioneer in sustainable printing, Next Printing is your contractor of choice for high-quality point-of-sale marketing, large-scale exhibits, pop-ups, and signage. Count on our team for more than an incredible print solution – reliability, exceeding expectations, and delivering in record time every time

If you want support from a versatile provider of eco-friendly digital printing solutions that targets your audience and converts sales, arrange a chat with us today. 

Talk to our team 

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