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Why are Electronic Shelf Labels Environmental Friendly?

Because they promote a paperless practice of labeling shelves, Electronic shelf labels (ESL) have become an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative for displaying product details and prices in the retail sector.

Almost every year, concerned scientists warn people about global warming around the world and how unpleasant changes to the planet may occur if we do not take steps to care for the environment. Because of this, people started turning to more sustainable sources of energy and way of living to reduce acts that may further contribute to global warming. Business owners and retailers have also started to respond by offering eco-friendly products, switching to a more environmentally friendly operation, or by installing Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) in stores instead of paper shelf labels.


Electronic Shelf Labels earned a reputation for being environmentally friendly during the past few years due to the indirect benefits it can provide the environment:


  1. ESLs reduce paper production
  2. ESLs lower stores’ carbon footprint
  3. ESLs prevent food wastage 

Electronic shelf labels reduce paper production

An ESL is environmentally friendly mainly because its installation in retail stores helps decrease paper production and wastage. Before retail stores use ESL on their shelves, they use the traditional paper labels that need reprinting every time there are prices and product updates. This results in reprinting a massive amount of new paper shelf labels and throwing away the massive amount of old paper shelf labels. 


Retail stores change prices several times a year. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that some groceries in North America even change prices several times a day. Imagine hundreds of retail stores across Europe changing labels as many times as they change prices every year–that’s a lot of paper being thrown away and a lot of paper being reprinted. As paper production requires cutting trees, the process of reprinting shelf labels repeatedly, especially on a collective, can lead to deforestation which can then lead to environmental dangers.


With ESL, retail stores no longer need to reprint paper shelf labels during price and product updates. All retailers need to do is update the prices through one central server integrated into the ESL system and the digital labels’ screens will display a new price or product detail.

Electronic shelf labels lower carbon footprint

Another amazing thing about ESLs is that the energy used to power them does not come from the store’s electricity, hence, not only do they not contribute to the store’s electric consumption but they also help save energy. Instead, ESL runs on batteries that typically have 5-10 years of battery life, depending on the ESL model. 


With SOLUM’s Newton, batteries can last up to 10 years, which is very eco-friendly since the longer a battery lasts, the lesser the battery disposal incidents there will be. Some electronic devices exhaust their batteries’ life within 2-3 years, requiring several battery replacements during their lifetime. The ESL’s long battery life helps reduce the carbon footprint produced whenever a battery is disposed of. With SOLUM ESL, retail stores will only need to dispose of batteries every 5-10 years. 


Moreover, the ESLs themselves can last for a  very long time and are also made of recyclable parts. This means that it would take years before an ESL needs to be disposed of, and when it is, its parts can be used again to make a new ESL or a different electronic device, truly helping in lowering the carbon footprint.

Electronic shelf labels prevent food wastage

As simple printouts, traditional paper shelf labels’ function is limited to displaying products’ names, prices, and weights. Unlike paper labels, however, ESLs can do more than show prices. 


ESLs like Newton labels have a shelf-life management feature. Newton labels can be backed by the AIMS software which has an intuitive system dashboard that makes it possible to track the expiry dates of perishable goods on retail store shelves. This allows the staff to be alerted early on to ensure that the old stocks are bought before their expiry date, reducing the chances of the food getting spoiled before they were bought, and therefore preventing food wastage.


So, why is the electronic shelf label environmentally friendly? It’s because it can help retail stores have a green and more sustainable alternative to their common practices and operations for years to come. For more information on how our ESLs can help your business go gree, contact us today!

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