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In today’s increasingly electronics-dependent world, printed newsletters, snail mail, postcards, and essentially anything else on paper may get a bad reputation as environmentally unfriendly. However, in considering the arguments both for an against printing, it is important to consider all of the facts. We recently found an article which sheds some light on this subject.
Here’s the link: http://www.printing.org/node/5955
On the website, scroll down to “Publications” and click the first link, “The Truth About Print Versus Electronic Communication.”
Or, if you’d rather not look at the report directly, here are a few highlights (to give credit where credit is due, all statistics, arguments, etc. are drawn from the above report):
- Printing in fact may be more eco-friendly than electronic communication.
- This is due to paper’s status as an entirely renewable resource (the private landowners that sell the most paper actually tend to plant more trees than they harvest). This is in stark contrast to electronic devices, which are typically made from non-renewable resources, including various rare metals and fossil fuels.
- About 63.5% of all paper in America is recycled, as opposed to only 13.6% of electronic waste.
- The environmental cost of storing information in the “global cloud” is also quite high and increasing, as the servers that form the cloud require a constant stream of electricity, much of which comes from “dirty” sources such as coal.
Basically, all this is to say that the common wisdom that electronics are more eco-friendly than paper is somewhat misleading and doesn’t necessarily take the full story into account. While this report is very broad and more comprehensive study is definitely required to determine the most sustainable way for us to transmit and store information, green printing should not be discounted easily for environmental reasons.
We, at ZoePrint.com, also do our part to keep our production processes as “green” as possible. We recycle all possible paper waste, we use modern equipment with low power requirements and the toner we utilize is biodegradable. We also offer paper with recycled content for most of the printing we offer. Finally, producing printed materials which are shipped to you via common carrier is almost certainly better for the environment than driving to a printshop to order and pickup the final product.