Environmentally Friendly Advertising Mediums

Did you know, even though paper recovery rates in the US have increased in recent years, paper still represents one of the biggest components of solid waste in landfills? It measures about 26 million tons or 16% of  total landfill solid waste. When paper decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Now imagine how much of the printed paper was from advertising. For instance, every year, American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail, or 848 pieces of junk mail per household, which requires 6.5 million tons of paper. The sheer magnitude of waste and destruction each year from paper advertising is overwhelming. Although Green Drone is still growing, we hope to impact and influence future generations of marketers and advertisers with our sustainable and eco-friendly adverts. Such techniques include projection mapping, dissoluble interactive smart posters and environmentally friendly stencils.

A 2012 survey of nearly 3,000 global executives by MIT Sloan Management Review discovered that about two-thirds of respondents believed sustainability was necessary in today’s competitive market. And a good public image is not the only benefit of sustainable practices. Many companies produce huge amounts of waste through traditional advertising mediums. (Think catalogs, direct mail, magazines, billboards.)

Print advertising negatively impacts the environment due to an excess of Co2 emissions caused by the sourcing (often deforestation) and production of paper.  Additional harm comes from the petroleum-based ink, solvents, plastics, adhesives and the fossil fuels burned during manufacturing and distribution.

The growing importance of sustainable business practices factoring into customers purchasing decision has created a “green-washing” effect. This is when companies spend more advertising dollars to project an image of sustainability than dollars spent towards actual sustainable practices. And the message a brand conveys not only affects customer relationships, but extends to all stakeholders: employees, vendors, suppliers, and other key business partners. But increasing your company’s advertising spend and decreasing your profits isn’t exactly sustainable business. Green Drone’s suggestion, implement innovative and economical advertising mediums.

Choosing sustainable advertising is a great way for companies to showcase their green efforts, which translates into an authentic message. Here are a few examples:

  1. Reverse Graffiti – A brand, logo or slogan is laser cut into a stencil. Any surface with dirt, generally in a high foot trafficked area is used. You simply wash over the stencil with high pressure washers.
  • A unique way of advertising that creates awareness and is cost effective.
  • No chemicals are used, only water and the fuel that powers the equipment.
  • Lasts from 1-3 months depending on weather conditions, type of surface, foot traffic and street cleaners.

When designing adverts for these stencils, we recommend choosing large bold images with minimum text. That way the images stand out in crowded places where your message will get the most exposure. 

2.  Chalk Graffiti– Washable chalk along with a non-toxic adhesive is used. The use of color gives an added dimension.

  • Event information signage to three-dimensional illusions.
  • No chemicals are used.
  • Lasts a few days or can be wiped away immediately with water.

Larger images are easier stencil to into the surfaces as opposed to smaller images. The key to running a successful campaign is placement.

3. Moss Graffiti– paint it on and watch it grow or cut grown moss and colonize the wall.

  • Best in Spring or Fall when there is moisture in the air.
  • No chemicals are used.
  • Lasts weeks, depending on design and placement. The moss can be easily killed by spraying it with lime juice.

The Stencils We Use
We think the best stencils are cut from aluminum. They are light, strong and reasonably priced. Plastic or Mylar stencils are a pain to use and can blow away easily. Stainless steel stencils are strong but heavy and expensive.

The Surfaces
Getting a decent image on many surfaces such as red brick paving is difficult.  The standard grey concrete slabs are always good for producing an image, however, many other surfaces will work. The surface should be really visible.

stencil infograph


Brief History of Stenciling

Stencil paintings of hands have been discovered in several prehistoric cave paintings. They were used to color cloth for many centuries, especially in Japan. Starting in the mid-fifteenth century, stencils were used to color master prints on woodcuts. Playing cards and mass-produced books, for example, were illustrated in this way.

Book Illustration

  • One of the earliest and most popular commercial uses of stencils was for book illustration. It was most popular in France during the 1920s. It is a highly labor-intensive process, which was called Pochoir. The process entails first producing a print with the outlines of a design, and then using a series of stencils through which areas of color were applied by hand to a page.

Aerosol Stencils

  • Aerosol Stencils are created by producing a template that serves as an outline for an image. They are made from any material that will hold its form—from plain paper, cardboard, plastic sheets, metal and wood. It is used in many settings industrial, commercial, artistic and recreational and also by the military. An interesting use of aerosol stenciling is in graffiti, since stencil art using spray-paint is produced easily and quickly. Political artists also tend to use graffiti stenciling, since it is a simple and inexpensive way to make political statements in public places.

Reverse Graffiti Stenciling

  • Reverse graffiti, also known as clean tagging, or clean advertising, is a method of creating temporary or semi-permanent images on walls or other surfaces by removing dirt from a surface. This form advertising has a strong environmental message. English artist Paul Curtis (aka Moose) is one of the first street artists to make an art piece using the reverse graffiti technique. Alexandre Orion is another artist pioneering this technique in Brazil.


Reinventing the wheel is rarely needed when transitioning to more sustainable advertising mediums. With advancing technology and the marketplace demanding responsible solutions to the existing advertising footprint, finding agencies who care about the environment and clients’ sustainable reputation will be challenging. Green Drone plans to lead by example and help fellow marketers and advertisers implement better ways. Here is some information about the eco-friendly adverts we offer. They are but a small fraction of our advertising arsenal. But some of our most effective!