Print and Paper Myths and Facts
Print and Paper have been the preferred
communication medium for over 2000
years, a natural choice for powerful
communication. However, in recent
times, with the rise in concerns about
the environment, people have begun
to question the sustainability of print
The question is, does the argument for
your favourite newspaper or magazine
stack-up when viewed in the light of the
real facts about deforestation, recycling,
energy consumption and carbon footprints?
We believe it does. Our free downloadable
Myths and Facts brochure gives you the full
story, but here, in 5 short points, is why:
THE MYTH: MAKING PAPER DESTROYS FORESTS.
THE FACT: PAPER PRODUCTION SUPPORTS SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT.
European forests have grown by over 30% since 1950 (1) and are increasing by 1.5 million football pitches every year – an area four times the size of London.
‘In Europe, forests are growing and now cover 44% of the land area. 98% of all European forests are covered by a management plan or equivalents.’
MCPFE, Europe’s Forests, 2007
THE MYTH: MAKING PAPER IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.
THE FACT: PAPER IS ONE OF THE FEW TRULY SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS
The European recycling rates for paper reached 69% in 2010. 2
The latest UK figures are 79%. (3)
In a multimedia world, print and paper may be the sustainable way to communicate. This view is reinforced when you look at the issues surrounding the recycling of alternative mediums.
• Electronic waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal waste stream
• The amount of electronic products discarded globally has sky rocketed recently with 20-50 million tonnes generated every year
• In Europe, e-waste is increasing at 3-5% a year, almost three
times faster than the total waste stream
Source: Greenpeace, The e-waste problem, 2009
THE MYTH: MAKING PAPER CONSUMES A LOT OF ENERGY.
THE FACT: BUT MOST OF IT IS RENEWABLE ENERGY.
As industries go, paper making is a large scale undertaking and you’d expect it to generate some frightening statistics. It doesn’t. On average it takes 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity to produce 200kg of paper, the average amount of paper that each of us consume each year.
The paper industry is one of the biggest users of renewable, low carbon energy and over half the energy used to make paper in Europe comes from renewable sources.(4)
The sector, Pulp, Paper and Print, is one of the smallest greenhouse gas emitters on the planet.
• Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2005, (Extracts):
• Electricity and Heat 24.9%
• Industry 14.7%
• Transportation 14.3%
• Agriculture 13.8%
• Pulp, Paper and Print 1.1%
World Resources Institute. WRI, July 2009
THE MYTH: PAPER HAS A HIGH CARBON FOOTPRINT.
THE FACT: IT’S NOT AS HIGH AS YOU THINK.
Producing 200kg of paper, the average we each use every year, creates between 130-250kg of CO2 depending on the source of energy.
This is comparable to many other small scale domestic activities, and is roughly equivalent to the CO2 produced by an average family car over a distance of 600 miles. (5)
‘Reading a newspaper can consume 20% less carbon than viewing news online.’
Swedish Royal Institute for Technology
THE MYTH: ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY THAN PRINT AND PAPER.
THE FACT: NOT NECESSARILY. E-MEDIA ALSO HAS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Organizations that truly want to make responsible environmental choices should do so based on factual, verifiable information that takes into account every stage in the life of a product, not just a single characteristic.
Rather than asking which is better, paper or electronic communication, we should use this life cycle thinking to figure out which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while best meeting
social and economic needs.
‘‘With a reading time of 30 minutes per day the environmental impact of a web based newspaper is, in general, in the same range as a printed newspaper’s environmental impact.’ (6)
Moberg A, et al, 2007
(1) UNECE, FAO, The Development of Forest Resources, 1950 to 2000
(2) European Declaration on Paper Recycling 2006-2010, Monitoring Report 2010
(3) UK Confederation of Paper Industries, 2012
(4) CEPI, Forest Fact Sheet, 2008
(5) Paper and the Environment, ATS Consulting, August 2007
(6) Arnfalk P. 2010