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Green printing – eco-friendly printing with soy ink on recycled paper. Barefoot Press is the original green printer in Raleigh, NC.

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NC Union Labor

We are a union shop, PPPWU 1323. We can add our union bug to your print collateral on request and at no additional cost. We are committed to fair wages and safe working conditions, and believe in a workplace welcoming to all genders, ethnicities, religious beliefs and ideologies.


We have provided consistent, quality printing to all kinds of organizations and industries since 1987. We offer offset and digital printing, large format printing, direct mail and graphic design support services, as well as a wide array of specialty finishing and in-house bindery options. While we have grown from a single one color press in the back of a bookstore to the well-rounded production plant we are today, our obsession with quality and personal attention has never changed.

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We can produce products for all of your marketing needs. We have standing dies available at no extra cost for some of our standard products – here are just a few examples. We produce books, pocket folders, stationery, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, business cards, calendars, banners and all kinds of custom solutions tailored to your brand. Contact your account manager for pricing on these and other items.


Here we showcase some of our favorite projects. We have hundreds of samples at our office, so if you would like to see physical samples please contact your account manager to arrange an in-person meeting.

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Green Printing News

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Digital Green Printing Now Available

Digital green printing has finally arrived at Barefoot Press with the installation of two high-speed Xerox digital printing presses. We have 100% post-consumer recycled paper available in both uncoated and satin finishes for the digital press. Xerox tells us that…

Whale Wars Map by Sea Shepherd

Whale Wars Map

Whale Wars Map for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society When Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the organization behind Animal Planet's hit TV show Whale Wars, wanted to use green printing methods to produce an eco-friendly, large-format wall map, we were thrilled to…

Closeup of printed folders on printing assembly

Green Printing Deserves Eco-friendly Binding

What is the most eco-friendly binding method for your green printing project? There are several ways to bind a book or booklet, and your green printer can produce most of them in-house. Perfect binding, otherwise known as paperback book binding,…

Green Printing

Since there’s no official standard, you’re on your own to determine who’s really committed. In general, an environmentally minded printer should: use the most eco-friendly papers available; reduce toxic chemicals, waste ink, and solvents; be willing to use soy or other vegetable inks without any price premium; educate customers about how to reduce a project’s environmental impact; and provide safe working conditions for employees.

Green printing: What’s in it for you?

E-mail boxes are swamped and the Web has become an indispensable resource, but the long-predicted paperless society hasn’t come to pass.

The need for paper and print remains strong — for business cards, packaging, brochures and other uses that call for a well-designed, quality print piece. Just count the items that land in your mailbox every day, including the armful of catalogs.

But recent years have brought a keener awareness of the environment, and global warming has escalated concern about the impact of many commercial and personal choices — including the ecological costs of print and paper.

Green printing, once the passion of a very few printers and print buyers, is now in demand as a way to help companies protect their investments, satisfy shareholders and enhance their image with customers.

Green policies are showing up in company mission statements. The Sarbanes Oxley Act, which regulates corporate governance, lays out not only responsible money accounting practices but also an environmental accounting of company impacts and plans for sustainable development.

Establishing a green record is more than an altruistic endeavor; it’s an act of self-interest — self-preservation, even.

“Brands will not be able to opt out of [being green],” said Lee Daley, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi UK. “Companies which do not live by a green protocol will be financially damaged because consumers will punish them. In the longer term, I do not think they will survive.”

In a recent poll by Global Market Insights, Americans chose damaging the environment as the main reason they would consider a company to be socially irresponsible. The poll also found that American consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 — future consumers — are more likely to buy organic, environmentally-friendly or fair trade products than other age groups.

Victoria’s Secret turned to greener choices for the million-plus catalogs it prints every day following two years of protests by activists seeking to protect Canada’s Boreal Forest. The company was using 100 percent virgin paper, made from pulp from the forest, which was being logged at the rate of 2 acres per minute. In 2006, its parent company, Limited Brands (which also includes Express, Bath & Body Works and The Limited) agreed to use paper with recycled content or paper certified to come from sustainable, responsible sources.

Many companies, such as IBM, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have heard the message and taken eco-friendly printing steps, such as printing shareholder reports on 100 percent recycled paper.

The greening of paper production.

Environmental Defense, an advocacy group, calculates that one ton of virgin uncoated paper – which accounts for 90 percent of paper used in the U.S. – consumes three tons of wood, more than 19,075 gallons of water and generates 2, 278 pounds of solid waste.

U.S. pulp mills consume 12,430 square miles of forests around the world each year, an area almost the size of the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.

Globally, according to The Environmental Paper Network, 70 percent of trees used for paper pulp comes from biodiverse forests as opposed to tree farms, much of it from endangered forests.

Illegal logging has destroyed or degraded 80 percent of the world’s ancient forests. These forests create oxygen and hold massive amounts of carbon dioxide in the plant life. When the forest is cleared, that carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Scientists estimate that preserving the world’s forests and managing land use sustainably would reduce CO2 emissions by one-quarter, enough to stabilize the atmosphere. Deforestation accounts for about 30 percent of the global warming pollution released into the atmosphere each year.

Irresponsible logging undermines the culture and economy of millions of indigenous and rural people who depend on forests for their livelihood. It also leads to erosion, flooding and water pollution and creates conditions that erupt in violence and human rights abuses.

The Sierra Club says the U.S. has entered into trade agreements or is in negotiations with some of the world’s worst illegal logging offenders and has failed to address the problem in its negotiations. The environmental lobby has called for a definitive ban on trade in illegally harvested timber.

But illegal logging isn’t the only problem. Mountains in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska have been stripped bald with clear cutting that is actually subsidized by the federal government, in the form of logging roads that are constructed using taxpayer money and tax breaks that enhance the bottom line of already profitable corporations.

What is being done about this?

Just as other industries are taking a hard look at policies and practices that impact the environment, many in the paper industry have taken this challenge seriously.

Some pulp and paper companies and printers have committed to principles of corporate and social environmental responsibility, and organizations have formed to help define, recognize and credit those efforts. But the bonus is on paper and print buyers to use and build demand for eco-friendly printing products.

Forest Stewardship Council Logo - Black sans-serif type with tree icon to left

Forest Stewardship Council

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international, non-profit association founded in 1993 with the intent “to shift the market to eliminate habitat destruction, water pollution, displacement of indigenous people and violence against people and wildlife that often accompanies logging.” FSC Certification means that an independent third party has established a chain of custody to verify that the paper originates in an FSC-certified sustainable, well-managed forest. For a print product to carry the FSC logo, the chain of custody must have flowed from forest, to paper manufacturer, merchant and printer, all of whom have been FSC-certified.

A recent “State of the Paper Industry” report by the Environmental Paper Network states that more than 226 million acres of forests are FSC certified.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Logo - Black sans-serif type with green tree icon to left

Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has a similar goal, but it is managed by the paper industry. It does not use an independent certifier, nor does it address some forestry problems, such as converting old forests into tree plantations, as FSC does.

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Green-e Certification

Green-e certification identifies products and services made with renewable energy that doesn’t pollute, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydrogen fuel.

Mohawk Fine Papers, for instance, reports that it uses wind for all of its electric power. The company estimates that the carbon savings is equivalent to planting a 24,400-acre forest or to not driving 138 million miles in a passenger car. and

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Green Seal certification

Green Seal certification identifies papers that contain at least 30 percent post-consumer material and are manufactured without chlorine or chlorine derivatives.

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Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance works with FSC to help companies work with sustainable sources. Rainforest Alliance certification is an independent seal of approval “that goods and services were produced in compliance with strict guidelines protecting the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities.”

These organizations are paving the way to greener print options. Key to exploring these options is connecting with a green printer — one who is knowledgeable about eco-friendly printing options and can help you meet your company’s environmental goals.

Priscilla Martin, print buyer for Clif Bar, told Grist Magazine that when she speaks with a new potential printer, “their views on positions on environmental considerations are generally apparent within the first few minutes. If I’m not hearing a green message, rather than asking about it, I tell them what is important to us and see how they respond.”

A green printer also can help you keep costs down while offering better green choices.

“The major trade-off we thought we’d experience was a price increase,” says Andrea Stupka, marketing and promotions manager for Homegrown Natural Inc, purveyor of Annie’s Homegrown products. “But after doing a cost comparison between four printers, one of them green, we were pleasantly surprised. The slight cost increase to go green was so insignificant it was worth it.”

A familiarity with green printing basics will help you set your goals and communicate them to your green printer.

Choosing the right paper is critical.

Virgin paper, which comes directly from trees, has the most immediate impact on the forest and requires the most energy to manufacture. That impact is mitigated somewhat if the pulp is from paper that is FSC certified.

Recycled Paper

Recycled paper saves trees, reduces use of toxic chemicals, uses less energy and produces fewer emissions than virgin paper. According to The Environmental Paper Network, each ton of 100 percent post-consumer recycled fiber that displaces a ton of virgin fiber saves 12 to 24 trees and provides a wood fiber savings of up to 310 percent. And when paper is recycled, it doesn’t go into the waste stream, which now is about 40 percent paper and paper products.

Recycled fiber may come from pre-consumer waste, material from a mill fabricator or printer that has never been used by a consumer, or post-consumer waste, which has been used and recycled by the end user. Use of post-consumer waste creates markets for local recycling collection systems.

Over the years, the quality of recycled papers has improved and the costs have gone down. Today, there are so many choices available in 100-percent recycled paper, there is seldom a good reason to settle for less. At the very least, select paper with 50 percent or more recycled fiber. Then build market points by putting a label on the print product that promotes your responsible choice.

Tree Free paper destroys no forests or wildlife habitat. It requires fewer chemicals and less energy to process than papers from tree pulp. It is acid free and can be recycled. Some is made from plants grown in dedicated fields, such as hemp, cotton, kenaf, soybeans and wheat. Others, such as sugar cane husk (called “bagasse”), use husks and straw left in the fields after the main crop is harvested.

The downside is that it is more expensive and usually has to be imported. Growing industrial hemp (cannabis) in the U.S. is illegal; it is considered a controlled substance, although it contains only trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical THC that is found in marijuana. Legislation was introduced in Congress in February 2007 to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, but no hearings have been held on the bill.

Using wood to make paper is a relative recent practice. Until the late 1850s, paper was made from linen, straw and hemp. The first paper mill in what became the U.S., established in 1690 near Philadelphia, used rags — recycled cloth. With demand for paper reaching unsustainable levels, interest in tree-free paper is mounting.

Chemicals used in paper manufacture.

Chlorine bleaching of paper, which releases cancer-causing dioxin into the atmosphere and aquatic ecosystems, used to be widespread in the U.S.

In order to meet Environmental Protection Agency rules, most paper is now “elemental chlorine free” (ECF), which means it is made from chlorine derivatives, such as chlorine dioxide. This drastically reduces but does not completely eliminate dioxin pollution. EPA and the European Commission recognize ECF as “Best Available Technology.” (Monadnock Paper Mills “Field Guide to Eco-Friendly, Efficient and Effective Print.”)

“Process chlorine free” (PCF) papers have been bleached with oxygen-based compounds. But some chlorine or chlorine compounds may remain from source materials, such as recycled papers. “Totally Chlorine Free” (TCF) is oxygen based and applies only to 100 percent virgin paper.

Soy Inks Logo - US flag in the shape of an ink drop

Ask your printer about toxic chemicals

Your green printer will direct you away from petroleum-based inks, which contain ozone-damaging distillates and volatile organic compounds (VOC), and toward vegetable-based inks. These are biodegradable and come from renewable resources such as soy, linseed, cottonseed, tung or china wood oil. Vegetable-based inks are mixed with petroleum, so they still contain some VOCs. A green printer also will use water-miscible, low VOC solvents.

Design green to print green.

Standard sizes are standard for a reason; they make the best use of the paper on the press. A 6-by-6 inch booklet may please a designer’s eye, but it wastes a lot of paper and raises the cost of the project.

Approach color creatively. Can you make a two-color design be as elegant and effective as full color?

Combine jobs in a way that optimizes the paper, ink, energy and labor.

Your green printer can help guide you toward design choices that make the best use of materials and keep costs down.

Ready to print green?

  1. Pick a green printer, one whose policies and practices match your desire for eco-friendly printing products.
  2. Use paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled fiber. Aim for 100 percent.
  3. Insist on soy or vegetable-oil-based inks.
  4. Choose a designer who will work with your printer to make green choices.
  5. Finally, close the loop. Recycle. Encourage your company to embrace the “reuse, reduce, recycle” mantra throughout its operation.
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