Guest Column: Looking to Make Your Magazines ‘Greener’?
Q: Are printers and paper mills that have chain-of-custody (CoC) certification more environmentally friendly than those that don't?
A: Not necessarily. CoC certification has nothing to do with an organization's environmental practices, just its ability to track which fiber or paper was used on a particular job. Only certification of specific paper—not of a mill or printing plant—matters.
Q: Does delivering electronic versus printed content save trees and help the environment?
A: Not necessarily. Data centers and electronic gadgets are huge consumers of electricity. While paper mills often rely heavily on renewable resources for their power, conventional electricity typically comes from coal or petroleum. That's why I refer to digital content as "Dead Dinosaur Editions" (as opposed to ink-on-paper, or "Dead Tree Editions").
The mountaintop-removal method of coal mining and the processing of oil sands for petroleum are both significant sources of deforestation in North America. Computers and other electronic gear also contain a variety of toxic substances that are rarely recycled.
*Barely a year ago, an anonymous magazine-industry manager going by the name of "D. Eadward Tree" wandered into the blogosphere despite not knowing his RSS from a hole in the ground. Since then, his blog, Dead Tree Edition (http://deadtreeedition.blogspot.com), has provided a variety of helpful hints, original reporting and smart-aleck comments related to the production and distribution of ink-on-paper publications. The Vancouver Sun recently praised Dead Tree Edition for having "some of the most detailed and biting analyses" of the controversy regarding black-liquor subsidies of U.S. pulp mills.