You may have heard that printing is “bad for the environment” and that it “kills trees” or that printing “isn’t green”.
All of the above are common misconceptions about print and this article will take you through why that is and what the contrary is.
The first common misconception about print is that “printing paper kills trees“.
The primary raw material for paper is trees, which are a renewable resource. The trees in North America used for paper production come from well managed forests and farms. These trees are constantly being replanted just for the purpose of paper production.
Many of us have grown up to believe that forests are being torn down and beautiful trees are being destroyed, rendering poor animals homeless just for the production of paper. This just simply isn’t the case, as stated above.
Today, the U.S. has 20% more trees than it did on the 1st Earth Day, which took place in the spring of 1970.
About 4 million trees are planted every day by private landowners. Just 11% of the world’s forests are used for paper (28% for lumber; 53% for fuel).
The next misconception is that Electronic communication (eReaders and the like) is more environmentally friendly than print.
In 2008, Americans generated 3.16 million tons of electronic waste. Negative health effects from producing an e-reader are 70 times worse than producing a book. This comes from the CO2 emissions that are even 4 times higher in one single compact disc than when printing a 100 page, 4-color annual report.
Dozens of minerals and metals typically need to be mined and refined for the production of e-readers. Plastics, hydrocarbon solvents, and other non-renewable resources are also used in the production of e-readers.
In Europe and the US, about 60% of energy that is used to make paper comes from renewable resources.
Lastly, there is a big misconception that print isn’t green. Using a digital device to read is not a green alternative. More than 60% of all paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling in 2010. Paper recovery for recycling has increased by 77% since 1990.
Printed products are a renewable resource. This means that when a printed product is finished service its purpose, it goes back into the cycle and is turned into a new product.
Wood chips and sawmill scraps account for 33% of paper, while another 33% of paper comes from recycled paper. You can start to see that this process is starting to sound like a very green one.
We hope that this article has clarified some of the common misconceptions about print for you. We here at Replica Printing hate to see print get such a bad rap when it’s actually good for the environment.