Sustainable and Ethical Point of Sale Displays

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, designed or removed from production.”– Pete Seeger.

Truer words could not be spoken, with the current condition of our natural environment. Our oceans are full of plastic. Our landfills full. Our air polluted. We must do everything we can!

Point of sale displays, if not made ethically and with the environment in mind, have the potential to contain high levels of waste. More brands than ever now realise the impact this has on our planet, plus the growing concern from customers regarding how and where their products are made. Thus, many have started to place greater emphasis on becoming ECO-efficient. Guaranteeing their point of sale displays are made ethically, out of materials that are recyclable or biodegradable, can be both cost effective and aesthetically pleasing to their consumers.

How can we deliver ethical and sustainable POS displays to our clients? What materials are used as alternatives to traditional, unsustainable materials?

Below are some of the most sustainable materials and solutions used in the manufacture of ecological POS displays. They reduce environmental impact, cost and can be recycled and reused. As Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”


ECOBoard is an innovative and eco-friendly alternative to fibreboard, plywood, MDF or chipboard. It is not made from wood. Instead it is made using agricultural fibres and residue such as straw or reeds which is bonded together using natural lignine (a complex polymer) of the cellulose fibres. Produced in emission free factories, it has a negative carbon footprint and will have stored 0.98 kg CO2 per kilogram including energy used. ECOBoard is 100% biodegradable, 100% formaldehyde free, 100% durable and sustainable, 3% UF free resin instead of 25% glue in conventional PB. ECOBoards are far more moisture resistant than MDF, they weigh less, are insect free and insect repellent. ECOBoards can be made in all colours and finishes and can be given waterproof coatings as well. They can be used both indoors and outdoors as a replacement for wooden boards.

Corrugated Cardboard

This is not new to the recycling world, with paper having been recycled for over 100 years. However, it is very efficient; corrugated cardboard manufactured in the UK is made from 76% recycled fibre and can be recycled, remade and reused in only 2 weeks!

This is the highest recycling rate out of any type of packaging in the UK at 84%. As a direct result this saves an area the size of Greater London from landfill every four months. Corrugated boxes can also be biodegradable. This is a great product to use for rapidly changing and promotional displays.

LED Lighting

LEDs can be used for low power lighting and can dramatically reduce power output. They allow designs to include a full spectrum of colour. Long-term point of sale displays can be updated by changing the LED lighting to different colours, or by changing the state of the lights from solid to striped. The lights could be linked to music to change the environment again. This is an effective way to reduce waste and to create a longer-term design solution which can be adapted to each season and re-arranged for new lines without totally replacing displays.

Packaging and Distribution

Making an ECO-centric display is highly laudable but getting it to the point of use in an equally considerate way is another matter. Many displays are packed in styrene, bubble-wrap, cling and other oil-based materials. The reasoning is simple – the manufacturer wants the display to be protected at every touchpoint – in warehouses, in transit, and the stock room. They have possibly made significant investment so naturally want it protected.

So, consider flat-pack displays and structured card protection for your displays. Using a flat-packed design certainly puts more responsibility upon the store staff to assemble them correctly [unless a merchandising team is employed] and this can occasionally lead to displays being consigned to the skip, but it does require substantially less packaging material than a fully-assembled display. It also means the smaller carton sizes require less fuel to distribute so create a lower carbon footprint.

Within the world of point of sale and retail displays it is vital that sustainability is considered. Longer term designs for point of sale should be considered and wherever possible and sustainable, ethical products need to be used. The circular throwaway culture within retail displays creates inexcusable amounts of waste materials due to displays needing to be regularly changed. Try to ensure your displays have recyclable components, are biodegradable or can be reused and adapted wherever possible. You can also donate point of sale displays to charity organisations who can reuse and adapt them to suit their needs.

If you are looking for sustainable, ethical ways to showcase your range of products, LINC POS is here to help! Call us on 01526 869 299 or email hello@lincpos.co.uk for friendly, hassle free advice.

Remember “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb