What are album companies offering for eco-friendly options?

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 | 0 comments

What are album companies offering for eco-friendly options?

Thinking about environmentally friendly options in our industry and wondered what was actually available.  With a day of research and compilation, here are my yummy discoveries to share with you!



This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly business model:

Finao ONE's beautiful packaging

Finao ONE’s beautiful packaging
Photo: www.finaoonline.com

  • COVER MATERIALS: Finao’s Faux Leathers are PVC free and any leather that they have will NOT be tanned in Asia. They offer extensive options for fabric and non-leather options as well.
  • SHIPPING & PACKAGING:  They use hand-made pineapple leaf paper to wrap their albums with and use recycled mulberry leaves for ribbons with a mulberry skeleton leaf for decoration.  For shipping, they use corn starch peanuts, paper tape, and recyclable cardboard.  Finao says that when they receive biodegradable peanuts from Seldex they will reuse them or recycle them to another pack and ship facility.
  • WORKPLACE: Finao prides itself on how they treat their employees and associates and on the choices that they make. They are great employers who offer health care and paid leave. They have an office recycling program as well in addition to recycling every bit they can in their production process.  They are also proud that all components are made in the USA and everything is made by hand.



This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly business model:

  • PRINTING: Epson 900 with Ultra Chrome 900 series inks – archival, great color with 11 cartridges. Ink jet inks are water based – so no toxins, chemicals etc.
  • PAPER: They use Epson Somerset Velvet which is pure cotton fiber – no trees.
  • Their business says that they keep commuting low with more work at home, they use low-energy bulbs, base their business over the internet, keep physical marketing materials low = less waste.
  • ENDPAPERS: they use decorative papers made from a fast growing mulberry bush, or recycled cotton rag, or even recycled plastic bags! (now that’s pretty darn cool)
  • COVER MATERIALS: They don’t offer faux materials, mass-made materials. They have three different cover materials “Organic Vintage” is a 100% hemp canvas that they then print on and fixed with an archival fixative – not chemicals.  They have two different types of silks – Dupioni silk and “Peace” silk. Peace silk is unique because it is made from cocoons of caterpillars who have already turned into moths and flown away.  They describe it as a coarser and more textured than the Dupioni silk.
Wild Magnolia Eco-Friendly Album Options
Gorgeous Eco-Friendly Materials from Wild Magnolia – Photos: www.wildmagnolia.com
Top: Peace Silk with Scrimshaw Endpaper / Hemp Photo Cover
Bottom: Agate Endpaper / Woodcut Paisley Endpaper / Vintage Hemp Photo Covers



White Glove Books has been around for a long time, and when I first saw them they weren’t promoting their eco-friendly features at all … they were just that way! Their site says they have been creating eco friendly books since 2000 – so others that claim they are the first… might just not be. White Glove includes a “Certificate of Environmental Stewardship” along with a lifetime guarantee with each book !!  Let’s look at their offerings:

  • PAPER: They use PEFC Certified and 100% post consumer recycled inkjet paper which were made from sustainable and renewable resources.
  • COVER BOARDS: FSC certified recycled, acid free, lignin free and chlorine free.
  • PRINTING: Giclee printing which they say is more earth friendly due to it’s low VOC and aqueous pigment inks.
  • ADHESIVE: Non toxic, acid free and biodegradable.
  • COVER MATERIALS: cotton linen mix – not rayon.  (PS did you know that “natural” rayon comes from trees? Side note… I learned that in textile design in college. Not to be confused with synthetic rayon.) Their book cloth is acid free and from natural fibers which are sustainably harvested. White Glove’s paper covers are made of natural mulberry paper which is sustainably peeled from the trunk of the tree and dried in the sun. Their paper is hand made in a Northern Thailand tradition that is over 600 years old. White Glove also offers a paper made of a combination of mulberry and pineapple leaves. They do offer leather which is from tannery leather fibers which would normally go in a landfill.

White Glove Books - Eco-Friendly Wedding Books Certified

Certified Eco-Friendly with tons of cover options at White Glove Books
Photos www.eco-friendlyweddingbooks.com
Top: Bookcloth with Pineapple Leaf & Mulberry Bark Paper/  Bonded Leather made from tannery fibers
Bottom: Italian cotton+linen bookcloth / French cotton+linen bookcloth FSC chain of custody certified



This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly business model:

  • PRINTING: They use the Giclee method also – refined ink jet printing with archival inks.
  • PAPER:  They offer multiple types of paper – all cotton based – from matte, fine eco, smooth pearl, luster and cotton rag white or natural. Sounds like the papers that are not 100% cotton are eco-friendly though. They too spray their prints with UV finish.
  • COVER MATERIALS: They make both albums and DVD/CD cases out of materials that are renewable resources and all natural. Their materials include hemp and  mulberry paper that is a combo of hemp and wildgrass. They have matching fabric slipcovers for their albums that are made of burlap and organic cotton inlay. They use fun little accents like stones, beads etc. to finish off their pieces which I particularly like. They have some faux animal materials too that are made of handmade waxed embossed paper.

They offer a starter kit that includes ALL of their products in one colorway including a flush mount album, press book, single DVD case, DVD sleeves, print box, thumb box, photo folio and a portfolio folder – along with print samples and swatches.

Eco-Friendly offerings from Loktah

An eco-friendly textural buffet from Loktah – Photos: www.loktah.com
Top: Rustic Flush Mount album / Hemp Flush Mount album / Safari Flush Mount album
Bottom: Slipcover in Lush Burlap+Organic Cotton with Turquoise Stone accent / Allie Faux Alligator Mini Flush Mount album



Cypress wrote to me and said “Cypress has long been committed to environmentally responsible practices and we strive to continuously improve our efforts on that front. It is at the core of our philosophy as a company to preserve not only the photographs of our clients, but to also make decisions that preserve the world around them.”

This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly business model:

  • PAPER: Album pages and museum mat boards are tree and acid-free and are made with 100% cotton linters. Their site explains that “Cotton linters are a by-product of the textile industry. We choose papers that are made from recycled materials or highly renewable plants rather than forests of trees.” Their binders boards are also made from recycled materials. The mill from which they obtain their materials generates it’s own water to generate it’s own hydroelectric power.  Additionally, they do not use chlorine bleaching in their process.
  • WORKPLACE: Cypress uses fluorescent lighting and have a turn off the lights policy when not needed. They recycle throughout their company from cans and bottles to paper scraps, cardboard etc. The paper they use throughout their company contains recycled materials also.
Cypress and their luxurious eco-friendly albums
Cypress Fine Handmade Albums & Boxes – committed to environmentally responsible practices
Photos: www.cypressalbums.com
Shown are the original “Cypress Albums”


GP Albums – The Green Photo Album


GP Green Album

This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly album option:

  • PAPER: 100% post-consumer content and processed chlorine free, acid free and lignin free.  The mill that produces the paper is run on wind power.
  • COVER MATERIALS: They offer four different colors of organic cotton and natural hemp materials.
  • ADHESIVE: Natural, non-toxic




This company uses the following features to promote their eco-friendly business model:

  • PAPER: Papers are either from sustainable resources and/or PEFC certified. Cover boards are FSC certified and 100% recycled material based. End sheets and binding substrates are both 100% from sustainable resources. End boards are 90% recycled and 10% from sustainable resources. They offer three types of paper – Art White, Art Cotton and Gallery Cotton. All are matte in finish.
  • PRINTING: They use archival pigment based printing that uses less toxic chemicals than traditional photographic prints and less waste.
  • COVER MATERIALS: They offer ‘eco leather’ and 100% cotton canvas (even photo cotton canvas), silk and other offerings in many vibrant colors. Regarding their eco leather they explain that their suppliers are committed to sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals. Additionally, they convert waste product into thermal energy and are working towards a zero waste policy within 3 years.
  • ADHESIVE: Acid free and nontoxic – won’t yellow.
  • SHIPPING & PACKAGING: 100% recycled and/or from 100% sustainable resources. They use UPS Carbon Neutral Shipping. Folio has a pretty cardboard box (recycled content of course of varying %)  and an unbleached cotton slipcase bag for their albums.
  • WORKPLACE: Their stationery is 100% recycled and they use carbon neutral hosting for their dedicated servers PAS 2060 certified.
Folio Albums
UK Folio Albums offering eco-friendly options with sophistication – Photos www.folioalbums.com
Top: Folio’s Art Cotton paper on top with Art White paper below showing difference of natural vs. brighter white
Bottom: Almost invisible creased center gutter with thinner pages / 100% Cotton Canvas Photo Cover


There are album companies out there that also use Giclee Ink Jet printing that use pigment based inks along with cotton rag paper that do not tout that they are environmentally friendly… and yet in that aspect they are.  Additionally, just because something is ‘press printed’ doesn’t automatically mean that their inks are toxic. Many modern presses will use soy-based inks and papers that contain a percentage of recycled materials. If in doubt, call them up and ask.  When I was the Graphic Designer and Production Coordinator for Kapalua Resort, Maui we were always looking for soy based inks and recycled content papers and the printers were always very informative and helpful. When I was told to add the soy and recycled content logos to identify that we were using such things now that was a task to thousands of collateral jobs!!!

In writing this comprehensive article I had never taken the time to consider how environmentally friendly HAPPYFISH is … and yet all the while we are doing some very positive things:

  • we recycle EVERYTHING – all paper, glass, plastics, cardboard, packaging, aluminum etc.
  • we use a Canon imagePROGRAF 8000  (personal and Chad’s photography)
  • we use 100% cotton papers (personal and Chad’s photography)
  • we own and share one car – less emissions, less gas consumption
  • we use low-energy bulbs where possible and turn them off when not needed
  • we utilize off-peak electricity hours as much as possible
  • we homeschool AND work from our home office… no daily commute = less gas, less emissions
  • we combine multiple purpose trips to not waste fuel
  • we visited the city recycle plant for a tour of how it works (way cool…)
  • we’re starting our own compost heap and garden to grow own veggies
  • we reuse art and school materials into new projects
  • we donate to Goodwill and other organizations
  • we have reduced our shipping waste by trying to upload final files FTP instead as much as possible
  • we use reusable cotton canvas bags for shopping
  • we use recyclable batteries for our toys, camera gear, flashes etc.
  • we use Goal Zero rechargeable batteries, lights, and solar panels when we camp

Alright, well if you made it down to this end of the post – I’m impressed!!! To think that this was only going to be a quick post …

If you know of an album company or you are an album company that utilizes eco-friendly materials and options PLEASE share. I know there is a lot more out there that we are missing here!!

If this post inspires you to get more info from these companies please tell them Karen at HAPPYFISH DESIGN sent you! Please contact us for more information on our superior album design and image services for your next eco-friendly project.

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