Reference Tool: Why Print Is Truly Green
In fact, responsible designers partner with printers that have robust sustainability portfolios, consult with them on best practices, collaborate with them for the most cost-effective and efficient layouts for reducing waste, and assess results to guide future projects.
• We compare well to others. Every type of media has an environmental impact, and ours compares favorably with anyone's. According to the Department of Energy, U.S. paper manufacturers used more than 75 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006, which is a lot, but a substantial portion of our energy is renewable. Compare that with the 60 billion kilowatt-hours that data centers and servers used that year, primarily from burned fossil fuels—and that doesn't even include the energy that PCs use.
The average person's paper use for a year, 440 pounds, is produced by 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the same amount required to power one computer continuously for five months. Daily news followers who read the printed edition of a newspaper use 20 percent less CO2 than those who read news on the Web for a half hour.
Meanwhile, consider the environmental footprint of spam: A study commissioned by the Internet security software company MacAfee estimated it wastes 33 billion kilowatt-hours annually, with the same greenhouse gas emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gasoline.
And while we grow trees to get our raw materials, electronics manufacturers need heavy metals. Recycling electronics has toxic implications, whether it happens here or is shipped overseas.
Ultimately, producers of all media—Internet, digital media and print on paper—can work together to decrease the environmental impact of communication. PI