Reference Tool: Why Print Is Truly Green

Titled "Why Print Is Green," the new report describes specific ways in which print is green—from the responsible products used, renewable energy sourced, increased recycling rates, improved design and delivery methods.

Many of her best materials arise organically, and so do ours. The chief ingredient in paper grows on trees (well, they are trees) and moreso every day, we’re basing our inks and toners on fruits and vegetables.

Likewise, she doesn’t so much discard as reuse, and so do we: Most of the material from trees that doesn’t become paper becomes power, and we both generate and use more renewable power than just about everyone. And more of our products are recycled than just about anything.

We take these steps not because they make us look good—though we hope they do—and not just because they make economic sense, although they clearly do. We take them because we know nothing exists apart from nature. Here are some of the best ways we show it:

We consider the source. We’re careful to ensure that the paper and printing products we use originated responsibly. For instance, we rely on forest certification programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which dominate in North America, and the Euro-centric Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certifications.

All three promote forests’ long-term health by minimizing damage during harvesting, preserving habitat and biodiversity, preventing overcutting and other efforts. Safeguards include chain-of-custody certifications, verified by third parties that document the origin of materials at every stage of the manufacturing process.

Meanwhile, inks and toners increasingly are based on fruit or vegetable oils, removing the volatile organic compounds of their former base, petroleum, while making them far more renewable.

We’re mad for recycling. And why not? Every reused paper fiber is a double bonus for the planet: Using recycled fiber contributes less to air pollution than virgin fiber, and fibers kept from landfills don’t release methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases. Plus, the processing of recycled fibers into some grades of paper consumes fewer chemicals and less water.

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