Print Myths


Print and Paper has been the preferred communication medium for more than 2,000 years, butas the interest in environmental issues has increased so has misconceptions about the sustainability of Print Media.


MYTH: MAKING PAPER DESTROYS FORESTS. The paper industry promotes sustainable forestry and depends on sustainable forest growth to provide a reliable supply of wood fiber.  Paper manufacturers do this by encouraging forest sustainability through their purchase and use of certified paper products (ex. FSC certified paper). 


MYTH: PAPER HAS A LARGE CARBON FOOTPRINT.  Because forest products can require little or no fossil fuels for production, they have inherent climate change advantages over all other materials with which they compete, provided they are produced in a sustainable manner. Using sustainable practices, the forest products industry is one of the least carbon-intensive manufacturing sectors.


Are appeals to help the environment by eliminating paper based on sound science or on marketing strategies aimed at cost cutting? Companies that want to make responsible environmental choices should do so based on factual information that takes into account every stage in the life of a product, not just a single characteristic.


1.     Being green does not mean using digital communication instead of print.  63.5% of all paper is consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2010.  Paper recovery for recycling has increased by 77% since 1990. (Ibid/ChoosePrint/AF&PA)


2.     Adverse health effects from producing an e-reader are 70 times worse than producing a book. (Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, “How Green Is My Ipad” New York Times)


3.     CO2 emissions from making a CD are 4 times higher than from printing a 100 page, 4-color annual report (ED #13, Balance, New Page)


4.     50-80% of electronic waste collected for recycling is shipped overseas and often unsafely dismantled. (Facts and Figures on E-Waste and Recycling, Electronics Take Back Coalition)


5.     Printing is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprint – all other media require energy every time they are viewed. (2010 PrintCity report on Carbon and Energy)


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