Making sense of sustainability in the card manufacturing world
Making sense of sustainability in the card manufacturing world

Coming to you from the desk of Rebecca Pierce. I have been in the Printing Industry for about 25 years, the last 13 years in card manufacturing. About five years ago my largest client, who has a huge gift card program, challenged me to guide them through a sustainable transition. The main goal was a change from PVC to paper substrate which generated many spinoff items. At the time, PLI had mastered complex PVC cards with designs that used foils, silkscreens, multiple passes through the press, printing on all sides of the plastic, creating new layers with inks, various magnetic stripes, etc. We produced MILLIONS of cards each year using these techniques. Not only was the manufacturing process complex, but the material procurement, quality control, and talent were also unique. So, when they asked for assistance to transition to such a simple paper card I naïvely said, “Hold my drink!” I knew there would be challenges and changes, but I never imagined the extent of the journey. Fast forward to today: I have supported our team through testing and qualifying new substrates, inks, foils, mags, variable data, etc. This includes procuring new materials, new equipment, and new talent.

I am proud to say we have changed the way our industry and clients look at sustainability in the card space!

TOPIC: Making sense of sustainability in the card manufacturing world!

Sustainability is not the easiest thing to achieve, understand, or even keep current on. Here at PLI, we have invested hundreds of hours in research and development. We want to pay it forward and share what we know, what we’re learning about, and what’s on our horizon.

In our manufacturing world, there are thousands of sustainable material and process options available. New ones are being introduced daily. Over here at PLI, we have been striving to keep current and feel we’ve done a decent job. We’ve tested and researched a multitude of items such as substrates, inks, foils, glues, films, and packaging options. Some we have qualified for live production, and others we’ve had to reject.

We are crafting a series of posts that will give an in-depth review of a wide array of topics. We’ll help make sense of materials, processes, equipment, laws and regulations, and more, all while keeping it relatable to your card programs.

It is our aim not only to support your sustainability initiatives, but also to help identify new and innovative opportunities to answer the call for cleaner and more sustainable practices and products. Do you have ideas or goals for sustainable product development? PLI is here to help answer any questions you may have, or to figure out those answers with you. So please reach out to us at

Next, we will be discussing our Sustainable Guide that will help you select more environmentally friendly materials while keeping within your project’s scope.



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