Why Greener Materials Are Better Materials

Leaving a smaller footprint is something we are all working on, whether we are a multinational corporation or just a person living our life. Small things can add up and marketing materials are one of those things. Cradle to cradle thinking about a product contemplates the product from the source material to the recycling or re-purposing when its useful life is over. We feel your marketing kits, 3-ring binders and pocket folders can all be greener and more eco-friendly.

Binder for Tree City USA

November 15 is America Recycles Day!

Let’s take a closer look at the binders available today, including our own Corporate Image binders, and possibly the most eco-friendly binders on this planet from our sister company, Naked Binder. We evaluated these binders in various categories, including the recyclability after they are no longer needed and the use of recycled materials in the production process.

Recycled material:

  • % of recycled content


  • Is the product recyclable?
  • How much of it is recyclable?
  • How much work does it take to recycle?


  • How long does the binder last with regular use?

Manufacturing location:

  • Is the binder locally made (in the U.S.)?


  • Is the binder made of toxic materials?

To determine how long a binder lasts, we have done some formal and a lot of informal testing. First off, this is assuming that the binders get used regularly. If you are working on a legal case, that binder is going to see a lot of use very quickly. If you are storing information in a temperature and humidity controlled area, even the weakest binder can last a long time. Our assumption is daily use – not necessarily super rough.

Corporate Image and Naked Binder had their flagship FlexHinge binders tested by an independent laboratory. They performed 250,000 openings without any signs of wear and tear. Translated into an everyday situation (most binders don’t live in a lab), this means the equivalent of opening a binder 20 times a day over 34 years – quite a life span in the world of paper-based presentation materials!

This was the only lab testing we did. For Vinyl and Cardboard binders, we collected 4 years of outside observations and spoke with the local University Bookstore buyer. Not scientific, but it matched our observations also. Vinyl is sensitive to heat and cold as well as being held together with a minute thickness of heat sealed vinyl. We have used them, studied them and ripped them apart, but this is something every kid knows. Vinyl binders don’t last a semester. Cardboard binders can be 100% recycled content, with about 35% recycled fiber, but is 46% recycled content on average (source: RecycleNation).

Routed and three piece binders: When we first started many, many years ago, we made 3 piece binders, held together with a laminated printed sheet. So we know that well. Routed binders have more material in the hinge, but it is still possible to rip them apart by hand. Given what we know of binders and binder use, the board that is left strengthens that hinge, but is still subject to blowing out and cracking.

Corporate Image and Naked Binder use a patented mechanical die process that scores the board to our specifications and forms a flexible hinge while retaining the board fiber. That way there is no weak spot around the hinge. Our production facilities are located right next door to our office in Des Moines, IA.

Enough said, we believe it’s time to feel the quality of our products first hand. Request your sample today:

Request a sample       Contact your Sales Rep       Request a quote

You Might Also Like