Thermal Label Printers have been on my radar for quite some time. But I was hesitant to get one for my growing Etsy business. Why? I wanted my store to be as eco-friendly as possible and the $168 printer that I was considering seemed like it would create a lot of plastic waste. Yes, I honestly thought that taping a label to an envelope was the greener and cheaper option. I could not have been more wrong…
What is a Thermal Label Printers?
A thermal label printer is a small device that doesn’t use any ink to print (hello saving on those pricy plastic cartridges.) Thermal printing was actually invented in 1972 and requires special paper for it to work. How it works is simple: the printer sends an electric current to the heating elements of the thermal head, which generates heat. The heat activates the thermo-sensitive coloring layer of the special paper, which changes color where heated. It is incredibly fast and doesn’t smudge! Sure, the label has a plastic sheet that you peel off at the end, but it doesn’t produce more plastic waste than taping the label onto the envelope.
Why is it the Greener Option?
When we made labels before we got this printer, we used to use a regular printer. We’d print out two per sheet, cut them out and use tape to stick the label onto the envelope. Then ever few months, we’d need to buy more cartridges with ink, and more rolls of clear packing tape. To try and be more eco-friendly, we re-used Amazon envelopes, using one big one to create six packages. Now that we have the label printer, we save on tape, cartridges and even the excess paper that we had to cut. So not only is this printer faster and saves us lots of time, it also is the lesser evil when it comes to the environment. It’s impossible to be perfectly eco-friendly when sending out packages. Although Etsy does do carbon offset, which is great!
MUNBYN Thermal Label Printer
There are various printers to pick from, but we went with the $168 MUNBYN Thermal Label Printer. It seems pricy but in the long run it will offset the cost of ink. Plus, 1,000 labels cost just $25 – you can see the ones I bought here, they work great. We’ve only used this for a few days and it has made our entire packaging process so much faster and easier!
Summary: Thermal Label Printers
I spent a long time refusing to buy a thermal label printer. It wasn’t just the cost I was avoiding, I honestly thought that it would be more wasteful and I didn’t want to contribute to my already large environmental footprint. Turns out it was an amazing decision and I can’t imagine ever going back. Now that we have an average of 15 orders a day, it is a life, time and money saver.