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How to Create Your Own Compostable Labels

We have designed our compostable blank label sheets to make sustainable packaging accessible to businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re printing your own stickers, product labels, or shipping labels, it’s easy to get started with compostable labels!

Choosing Compostable Labels

Which Compostable Label Material?

 The label material you choose will depend on the intended appearance of the finished product and the type of printer you intend to use. Each of our label materials are 100% compostable, including a compostable and recyclable adhesive.

Natural Sugarcane: A natural tan color label made from sugarcane waste. This material is suitable for both inkjet and laser printers and is a great choice for an eco-friendly natural look.
Natural sugarcane is our thickest label material, and as such it is slightly more rigid. It is best suited for smooth, flat surfaces.

White Compostable: Plain white compostable labels, made from machine coated FSC paper. These labels are laser compatible, however they are not compatible with LED or Inkjet printers.
Our white compostable label material is thinner and slightly more flexible than natural sugarcane. Multi-purpose, this material is suitable for most dry applications.

Clear Compostable: Clear compostable labels, made from wood based bioplastic. Laser compatible, these labels have been tested with TN660 toner. They are not compatible with LED or Inkjet printers.
Clear bioplastic labels are our thinnest, most flexible blank label. Ideal for when you want customers to see your product through the packaging.

Tip: For use with curved surfaces (such as jars or tubes) or slightly uneven surfaces (such as a stand up pouch filled with irregularly shaped items), we recommend a more flexible label material such as White Compostable or Clear Compostable. The thinner material allows the label to better conform to the surface of your product or packaging!


How to Choose the Right Size Label

A good way to determine what size will work best is to create a prototype!

Using a piece of scrap paper, cut it to the label size you want to test and attach to your product or packaging to see how it looks.

Need a unique shape or size? Create your own with full sheet labels!

You can order samples of different label sizes and materials to test at home. Simply go to the product page, select “Single Sample Unit” and add to your cart. Repeat the process for each size or material you’d like to try, and check out.


Designing and Printing Compostable Labels

You don’t need specialized software to print compostable labels! For each of our blank label sizes we provide downloadable templates that are compatible with the most common publishing and design software.

Our PDF templates will help you align your label designs in most design software, we also provide templates compatible with Microsoft Word.

Browse Label Templates

In your design software (or Word) open the template for your label size and place your label design within the label outlines on the template. Be sure to keep all text and images at least 1/8" away from the edge of the label to account for possible printer shifting and variation.


Test Your Label Design

Before printing directly onto your label sheets, we encourage you to conduct a test print.

Print your design onto standard printer paper, and place the printed sheet over your label sheet to compare. This will help you ensure that the positioning of your design is correct, and can save you from wasting label sheets. After making any adjustments to your design, you’re ready to print on your labels!

Having problems? Take a look at our Label Printing and Template Troubleshooting Guide


Print Your Compostable Labels

Follow our 5 step guide and you'll be on your way to printing your own compostable labels and stickers at home!

  1. Download the Label Template for your label size. For printing with Microsoft Word choose the Word template, and for design software such as Adobe Illustrator, choose the pdf template.
  2. Open the template in your chosen software, and place your design on the template.
  3. When your label design is ready, test it by printing on a blank piece of paper. Line up your test print with the label sheet to check that the design placement is aligned with your labels. Adjust if needed, and visit our troubleshooting guide.
  4. Place label sheets in the printer tray. Check your printer manual if there are any special instructions for label sheets.
  5. You’re ready to print compostable labels!

To avoid shifting, put fewer label sheets in the printer at a time.
Be sure to let the ink dry before removing stickers from the sheet.

Does Printer Ink Make My Labels Non-Compostable?

Don’t worry, your labels are still compostable after printing! The very small amount of ink used by a home or office printer will not affect the compostability of the label. If you require ink certified for use with compostable products, please consider custom printed labels.

Applying Compostable Labels

Our Compostable labels use a compostable Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA). This type of adhesive uses pressure to form a bond between the label and the application surface.

Read More: Sustainable Packaging Guide - Eco-friendly Label Adhesive

Applying pressure-sensitive labels is a straightforward process!

  1. Prepare the Surface: Before you start, make sure the surface for the label is clean and dry. There shouldn't be any dust, grease, or dirt. It's usually better to stick labels on bags or pouches before filling them, while they're still flat.
  2. Check the Temperature: Make sure the labels and the surface are at a normal, room temperature. Too hot or too cold can cause problems with the adhesive on the label.
  3. Peel the Label: Carefully peel off the label from its backing. Touch the sticky side as little as possible, because the oil from your hands can weaken the adhesive.
  4. Position the Label: Gently place the label where you want it. Make sure it's in the right spot before you press it down.
  5. Apply Pressure: Start pressing down in the middle of the label using your finger or a small roller. Use firm, even pressure and move out towards the edges. This helps stick the label down evenly and gets rid of air bubbles.
  6. Let the Label Set: After you've put the label on and it looks good, leave it alone for a few hours. This helps the label stick better, especially before you handle or fill the package.

For best results when applying labels to pouches or bags, apply to the empty bag and allow time for the label to set before filling the pouch or bag.

When applying labels to stand-up pouches, or other flexible packaging, overfilling the pouch can change the shape of the surface. This additional pressure on the label adhesive may cause rigid label materials to lift at the edges. If you believe your labels are peeling due to an overfilled pouch or bag, we recommend one of the following:

  • Choosing a larger pouch size to ensure a good product fit
  • Leaving an air gap by reducing the amount of product in the pouch
  • Selecting a more flexible label material

We recommend testing your labels in the type of environment and with expected use to be certain the material meets all of your requirements and expectations. You can order samples of different label sizes and materials to test with your product. Simply go to the product page, select “Single Sample Unit” and add to your cart. Repeat the process for each size or material you’d like to try, and check out.


Storing Compostable Labels

Like all compostable packaging, compostable labels should be stored properly to keep them at their best.
Here are some tips for storing your label sheets:

  • Keep your label sheets in their original packaging until you're ready to print.
  • Store your label sheets in a cool, dry place. Avoid humidity, and shield from consistent exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Make sure your label sheets are stored laying flat to help prevent curling or damage.

Custom Compostable Labels
Need larger quantities and a wider range of materials? Want us to do the printing for you?

Get a Quote

Compostable stickers and labels, especially when used in conjunction with other compostable packaging, help divert waste away from landfills and reduce compost contamination. Many conventional stickers are made from plastic or are otherwise non-compostable. They are easily missed when consumers dispose of their packaging, and removing them from compost is difficult, expensive, and time consuming for composters!

Even small parts, such as plastic stickers, have the potential to cause big problems for the environment. Small, but not insignificant - Compostable labels help us to move towards a more sustainable future.