It's Easy Being Green
The myths about environmentally preferable papers are being dispelled by a growing number of publishers, paper experts, suppliers and environmental advocates. Environmentally preferable papers, or ecopapers, are delivering what the market demands: choice and availability, high quality and cost-competitiveness.
Ecopapers refer to papers with postconsumer recycled content, with cleaner manufacturing processes, and with virgin-fiber components that have been credibly certified as forest-friendly. Recently, Natural Health and part of Shape's circulation have joined the ranks of E/The Environmental Magazine and National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick by switching to a paper that is roughly 40-percent postconsumer recycled (PCR)—paper that has been previously used and recycled by a consumer.
Not only does PCR paper meet quality standards important to publishers, it is also dramatically better for the environment. In addition to reducing tree consumption, PCR paper production uses less energy and water, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less solid waste compared to virgin paper production, according to the nonprofit organization Environment Defense.
Almost 50 Eco-Friendly Magazine Papers
Contrary to popular belief, ecopapers are widely available. According to Susan Kinsella, executive director of Conservatree, a nonprofit ecopaper consulting organization, there are almost 50 coated magazine papers available off-the-shelf as ecopapers. For example, paper manufacturer Stora Enso North America has the ability to deliver more than one million tons of publishing paper with 10-percent PCR content.
Conservatree's list includes high-quality coated sheets ranging from
10-percent to 100-percent recycled content, as well as sheets that are not marketed as ecopaper, but can be prepared with 10-percent to 20-percent PCR fiber by simply asking the supplier to make the substitution. "Changing to an environmental paper can be as easy as asking your regular supplier to just add recycled content, but you do need to ask," said Kinsella.
Comparable Quality to Traditional Papers