Behind Ms. Magazine's Switch to Environmentally Friendly Paper
In its July/August issue, PrintMedia magazine covered Ms. magazine's switch to eco-papers—papers with high postconsumer recycled content (PCR), cleaner manufacturing processes (including less chlorine bleaching) and without using fiber from endangered forests. But what many of you want to know is how they did it.
After all, when the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) assumed control as publisher of Ms., it inherited a $2 million-dollar debt and with it a ready-made excuse for not switching to eco-papers, as it potentially costs more to do so. But Ms. managed to switch to papers significantly better for the environment and human health than traditional 100-percent virgin-fiber paper, while staying within budget.
Alicia Daly, associate publisher at FMF, made the decision to switch to eco-papers with high-PCR content. She assembled a core team, consisting of Ms.' printer, design firm, paper supplier and key magazine staff, which was committed to aligning the magazine's paper use with its financial bottom-line and its sense of responsibility.
Daly created a positive working atmosphere by understanding that switching to eco-papers was new and different for everyone and by recognizing their limitations. "It was a very supportive atmosphere," says Jane Scott, who was Ms.'s customer service representative at Brown Printing and is now with Vertis Inc. "Most of us were doing this for the first time, and Alicia made sure everyone knew she had faith in [our] ability to make the paper switch happen."
The process began when Daly and Ms.' executive editor, Kathy Spillar, met Kim Hoffman, the sales executive of New Leaf Paper—an eco-paper merchant—to learn about viable eco-paper options.
Especially important to Ms. was reducing the use of chlorine in the bleaching, or "whitening" of wood fibers. A by-product of chlorine bleaching is the carcinogen dioxin, and Ms. didn't want to release carcinogens into the environment during the production of its paper.