Cradle to Cradle™ printing products mark the start of a new printing era.

After intensive research, the Austrian communication company, gugler*, has succeeded for the first time in producing printing products in such a way that they can return completely to the biological cycle at the end of their product life cycle.

The adjacent film illustrates the possibilities this opens up for the future of recycling.

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Discover Cradle to Cradle™


  • Being Less Harmful is Passé
    Today the goal is to produce things so that after their life cycle they can flow back entirely into the biological material cycle and be useful on a permanent basis. Those who think from the cradle to the grave are ultimately not going to destroy valuable resources. Cradle to Cradle™ printing products close the circle from the cradle to the grave.
  • Good for the Earth and for the Image
    Be it postcards, printed business materials, flyers, posters, folders, brochures, books, sustainability reports or business reports, environmental statements or common good reports, each printing product that is awarded the Cradle to Cradle® quality seal bears witness to the real commitment of ecological sustainability. The Cradle to Cradle™ offset printing process is globally unique and the Cradle to Cradle™ certificate offers a unique opportunity to position the company in a responsible light.
  • A Few Uncomfortable Truths about Everyday Printing Products
    • The yellow pigment used in conventional printing procedures was banned eight years ago in China’s textile industry. When these pigments decompose, mutagenic substances develop. These are chemical compounds which can change genetic material in such a way as to cause cancer, for instance.
    • One kilogram of toilet paper pollutes 5 million liters of water because conventional printing products were never made to be recycled as toilet paper.
    • Phosphorous is vital for bones and teeth. But in 30 years’ time, the extraction sites on our planet are going to be depleted. This makes it all the more important to recover phosphorous from waste treatment plants. Yet, this is complicated if phosphorus is mixed with the harmful printing inks in toilet paper.
    • Over and over food tests reveals that harmful substances appear on packaging that come from printing inks.
  • Cradle to Cradle™ Three Things Make the Difference
    • Effectiveness as opposed to efficiency
      Not as bad is not good enough. Useful products don’t develop by reducing harmful substances. When it comes to bio-effectiveness, the aim is to do the right thing. And then with the best of intentions a big footprint can be left.
    • Waste = Food
      In the Cradle to Cradle™ concept there is no waste. Just like in nature, all of the substances remain in cycles. Cradle to Cradle™ printing products by gugler* were optimized for the recycling process. And, in doing so, any sludge generated can flow back into the biological cycle.
    • Healthy all around
      All the substances in Cradle to Cradle™ printing products have been analyzed together with the environmental research institute, EPEA. With respect to the health impact, such as allergies, and so on, the highest standards are met. Even the ashes from burned printing products can be strewn with confidence in the vegetable garden.
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Problems & Solutions


  • Problem: Printing products are not 100% recyclable
    Everyone has heard of paper recycling. But only a few are aware that only the pulp can be recovered in this process. This is separated in the deinking process from the inks, coatings and remaining fillers in the paper, which account for between 15 and 50% of the volume. Currently, this toxic sludge is burned as a waste product or recycled in the concrete and brick industry. By doing so, valuable materials are lost and problematic materials can return to the natural cycle over the long term. Take for instance filter cakes from incinerations facilities or building rubble: We are passing on the consequences of our actions today to coming generations.
  • Solution: With Cradle to Cradle™ everything is useful
    If the components used in printing products are safe for the biological cycle, then the deinking sludge is no longer waste but food. As an example, it contains organic pulp particles which can help the ground store moisture, and the mineral content of calcium carbonate from the fillers in the paper is a wonderful lime fertilizer. In this way, printing products can contribute to making the ground fertile and to the formation of humus whereby CO2 is stored at the same time. To close this cycle on a larger scale, widespread rethinking is required. But we can already make a start by showing that it is possible. With the first Cradle to Cradle® printing products we have laid a good foundation. Now, the more people who help increase the total portion of Cradle to Cradle™ paper recycling, the better.
  • Problem: Printing products are not made for recycling
    Up until now, inks and printing processes were developed with the goal of reaching economic targets and brilliant results. What wasn’t considered was whether or not paper is suitable for recycling. A German paper mill, for instance, has to destroy 20 tons of paper because the paper recycling contains miniscule digital printed particles that cannot be recycled. The damage amounts to EUR 100,000. Our health and quality of life are also impacted. In boxes used for packaging food, chemicals from old printing inks have been found which pass into our food. Recycled toilet paper adds harmful substances to wastewater treatment systems like residual printing inks and heavy metals which make phosphorus recovery considerably more difficult.
  • Solution: Think and act in cycles with Cradle to Cradle™
    Paper is a valuable and versatile raw material which absolutely has to be maintained in the recycling process with these characteristics. As a printing company it is up to us to determine the quality of the paper we ultimately produce. In our Cradle to Cradle™ research project we have selected printing components and developed inks which are ideal for recycling. Cradle to Cradle™ printing products are safe for the biological cycle and are even made to become safe food packaging down the line or toilet paper which doesn’t pollute the sludge thereby becoming an important basis for phosphorus recycling.
  • Problem: Minimum values reduce environmental impact but don’t create solutions
    Environmental and consumer protection guidelines set minimum values for materials with which nature and people should have limited contact. That is basically good and was established with the Austrian eco label for low pollutant printing products also for the printing branch to reduce their environmental impact. But herein also lies the problem. If we apply efficiency thinking alone, we are less harmful, but not really good. Even the new DIN standard for compostable packaging works with minimal values for heavy metals which may be found in printing inks. The thicker the box, the more is allowed. In this way, the concentration of heavy metals in compost is regulated but the following question wasn’t posed: How should printing inks be produced so that they are really compostable?
  • Solution: With Cradle to Cradle™ substances are positively identified:
    Instead of being guided by minimal values, the Cradle to Cradle™ principle ensures that every single substance is tested for its impact on the environmental and on health. In this way, printing products are produced that only contain positively defined components that have been optimized for the biological cycle. With certification according to the Cradle to Cradle™ standard, gugler* has succeeded to a large extent in replacing every problematic substance. We are continuing to work with our partners on individual details pertaining to additives, coated paper and binding materials. Printing inks developed according to the Cradle to Cradle™ principle are already 100% free of heavy metals.
the Cradle to Cradle™ circuit
Paper production
Production using inks and papers optimised for C2C printing
C2C capable printing products
Fertiliser and humus formation
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