Q3 Paper Outlook — Beaten to a Pulp
The company exec says he personally believes in using recycled stocks in environmentally friendly processes and would promote the Environmental Triad system even if it did cost the company more money to do so. "We're still figuring out how to market the process," Altman admits. "It requires more than just a local sales effort. We're looking for potential clients with an environmental commitment, but it can be a frustrating process because even companies that issue environmental statements often don't care about the printing they buy.
"If awareness does pick up as we expect, we'll be ahead of the curve," he continues. "We'll have the process already in place."
It's also important that the printer practices what it preaches, Altman says. A prime example is recycling its paper waste instead of just sending it to a landfill, which has a direct financial benefit, as well, he explains. "We had been paying $400 to $600 a month to have our garbage hauled away. Now we're paying about $200 to $300 a year because we are recycling so much of the volume."
Printers need to get beyond the simplistic approaches to recycling of the past, agrees Don Carli, president of research firm Nima Hunter in New York City and a long-time advocate of advances in printing technology. Carli says the industry's focus needs to be broadened to look at sustainable manufacturing. "The sustainability concept accounts more comprehensively for all the inputs and outputs throughout the lifecycle of a product or service," he explains. "This includes looking at energy use, materials consumed, waste produced, toxic dispersals, green house gases, etc. It involves systematic thinking."
According to the industry researcher, it's possible for a more comprehensive analysis of this type to even show that print buyers and producers would be just as well off using virgin fiber paper, in some instances. Key questions include whether the pulp comes from a sustainably managed forest and if it is processed in a chlorine-free, or at least elemental chlorine-free, process, he explains.