My footprint

I’m far from perfect when it comes to impact on the earth. The more I dive into this, the more I discover things that I need and want to change. I work mainly with watercolors and avoid paint with heavy metals (like the cadmium colors). For some black, grey and brown colors elephant teeth have been used to create them. Those colors I avoid by mixing them myself. For some pigments and also paper ox gal has been used in the process. Slowly I’m replacing my pigments so I’ll end up using only vegan friendly paints. With this, I’m already quite far. To check if something is vegan, I use a website that’s called ‘doublecheckvegan‘. Would you like your design made with vegan watercolors on vegan paper? Please let me know.

The impact of your thesis

Do you wonder what the footprint of your PhD is going to be? If you make the right choices, the impact of your thesis printing will probably be minimal. With the ‘right’ choices I mean: use certified paper and don’t print more books than needed. And, with your PhD you can even do something for the environment.


FSC certified paper

If you print your thesis on FSC certified paper your paper has been produced in a sustainable way. FSC is an international organization that looks at the whole chain: from sustainable forest management to the payment of labor ( Of course your paper does need to be processed and transported. If you don’t use FSC certified paper your thesis ‘costs’ approximately one tree (for an amount of 200 books, with each about 200 pages).


Enough, but not too many theses

Does everyone need a print of your book? An option would be to print only for the people who you really want to give a printed version to. Other people you could give a thinner version of your thesis with for example a summary, the acknowledgements and some other information around your defense. You could consider putting the appendices online only. Do contact your university to see what the rules are.


Online flipbook

At several printers they can make an online flipbook for you for a small amount of money (see an example of this on Ridderprint’s website). Do check at the university  if you can put your thesis online outside of the university’s library. In this way you could print a limited amount of theses. The rest of the people could then get an invitation with a link to the flipbook. For that, you can think of several things: you can put the link on a thinner version of your thesis (see above) or you can send only an invitation with the link. The invitation could be the booklayer or a postcard, A5 or a folded A4, so you get the idea of a ‘theatre program’.

Eco friendly thesis design

Thesis design and summary

Ideas to do together

With your defense you are able to reach quite some people. I can’t let go of the thought that we could do something with this. The best of course would be if we could think of something that suits you and your thesis. A couple of ideas:

Grow paper

You printed as few theses as possible and gave them to the people who will cherish them in their book cupboards. But, your invitation and propositions find their way to the bin. How would it be if you printed those on grow paper? In grow paper there are seeds. Your guest (the reader of your thesis) plants the paper and gets flowers. And this attracts bees! Your guest gets flower, nature has extra flowers for her bees and you contributed to that. Ridderprint has grow paper in their product range.


Bee food bank

To stay with the bees: become a bee food bank and give seeds to people attending your defense. See the pollinators project.



Ask for a local gift (so it doesn’t need to be transported) or let your guests donate to a nature organization. On Oxfam’s website you can also find many nice initiatives: from planting a forest to donating a goat.

Propositions thesis grow paper

Propositions on grow paper

Help me grow this list

I would like to make this list longer with other nice ideas. If you have tips, please let me know. The best of course would be if we could make up something that suits you and your PhD. I would love to help you!