Printing in a modern digital print shop is a much greener process than we’re led to believe. You can do your part to keep it that way.
Printing starts with a farmed product (paper made from trees) and ends up with a recyclable product. Printing is greener than many of us have been led to believe.
Printing, as part of a healthy market for forestry products, encourages landowners to plant and nurture trees. In our country commercial tree famers plant three trees for every one they harvest.
Leaving aside how printing encourages foresters (which we deal with in another post) there are other reasons why printing is green—and maybe even greener than electronic communications.
Consider these statistics:
- 57% of the paper consumed in the US is recycled, more than any other material
- The paper industry works constantly to push this percentage up
- 60% of the power used to make paper comes from renewable resources
- This is compared to less than 10% in manufacturing overall
- The paper a typical user consumes in a year is produced with only 500 kilowatt hours of electricity
- This is the same amount of electricity required to run one computer for 5 months
- The industry has worked to remove heavy metals and dangerous chemicals from the printing process
- Digital printing uses 100% nontoxic inks and toners
Printers encourage the use of recycled papers, and cooperate with independent auditors such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to insure good forestry practices world wide.
They are doing their part to be a good environmental stewards. What can you do to help?
One thing you can do is to use print wisely, a topic we address in another post.
Another simple step is to diligently recycle used paper. According to the American Forest and Products Association, the average person recycles 360 pounds of paper per year. This is good! But it is only 82% of what the average person uses. With industrial demand for recycled raw material constantly rising, all of us need to carefully recycle every scrap of used paper.
You can in good conscience print out this post if you want to pass it along. Just make sure your recipients throw it in the recycling bin when they’re finished!
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