Reference Tool: Why Print Is Truly Green
Of the fiber that went into paper in 2007, more than a third came from recycling, even though demand for newsprint, a key destination for reused fiber, has slowed considerably. In 2008, more than 57 percent of paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling—more than any material.
The paper industry is aiming to reach 60 percent recycling by 2012; every additional percentage point means that a million tons of paper are recovered. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paper is recycled at significantly higher rates than any other material. (Glass: 24 percent. Plastic: 7 percent)
We have promoted recycling practically since its beginning. The Direct Marketing Association and the Magazine Publishers of America both lead "Recycle Please" campaigns, and the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) promotes a number of others.
Among them are AF&PA's Paper Recycles effort, which awards outstanding school, business and community recycling programs; and Recyclemania, a higher education recycling competition that involved more than 500 schools from every state in 2009. The association has been working with the EPA and the Keep America Beautiful campaign since 2003.
For us, recycling goes well beyond paper, too. Most parts of the tree are used as renewable energy if not to make paper. Manufacturers and printers recycle printing plates, ink and toner canisters, shrink wrap, cardboard, the cores of large paper rolls, even shipping pallets.
• We're green by design. Design plays a crucial role in determining print's environmental effects. Responsible designers incorporate life cycle considerations into every design choice, and use their creativity to capitalize on environmentally friendly options such as specifying elemental chlorine-free paper, low-VOC inks and recycled materials.
Designers can also choose inks that are free of heavy metals or lighter in tone or intensity when a project is likely to be recycled, and forego surface coatings for projects envisioned for shorter life spans.