Put your use of printed paper into context and balance with your use of everything. Everything we consume has used valuable natural resources at some time in its lifecycle. Ask yourself if those resources are renewable, as are trees, and if they add balanced value to the planet.
BASE YOUR DECISIONS AND YOUR BELIEFS ON FACTS
Environmental issues are complex. It’s never simple. The environmental landscape is ever evolving, and incremental changes are happening every day in business and government to address the issues. Facts you need to learn include the following:
- Rulings like the Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to import any forest product that has been illegally logged, are helping to prevent these actions in tropical forests.
- Third-party forest certification groups are helping to ensure that forests are responsibly managed.
- Retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot are forcing suppliers to monitor their carbon footprint with regulations for their vendors.
- Paper manufacturers are increasing their use of biofuels and bringing their industry into the 21st century using technology to maximize wood usage.
- Forest management methods, called silviculture, help ensure that newly planted forests are more healthy, productive and sustainable for both environmental and economic purposes.
THINK TOTAL LIFESTYLE
Trees are a renewable resource, and paper can be recycled, recovered and used to make paper again. There are good systems in place to help decrease the total environmental footprint of paper that are decades old and constantly being refined. Make print a valuable part of your communications mix.
SUPPORT THIRD-PARTY FOREST CERTIFICATION PRODUCTS.
- Look for the label.
- Be willing to pay extra.
Look for third-party forest certification labels on your paper products. These labels signify a commitment by landowners, manufacturers, printers and others in the supply chain to use only wood fiber from forests that are being responsibly managed.
Current statistics show that although consumers support third-party certification in theory, they don’t support it with their pocketbooks. If you want to assure responsible forestry, you may need to pay more to support these important certification efforts. Creating and complying with third-party certification programs require businesses to invest more, so expect to pay a bit more for certified printing.
RECYCLE YOUR PAPER PRODUCTS
Did you know that currently 65.1 percent of all U.S. paper is currently recycled and that the paper industry has set a goal of recycling more than 70 percent by 2020? Support your local programs and remember to recycle your catalogs and magazines.
THINK BEFORE YOU DON'T USE PRINT
Electronic statements save companies a lot of money. They reduce the workforce, save millions on postage and paper costs and help get your money into their hands faster, but they aren’t saving a tree. Furthermore, the energy used to digitally post, host, archive, view and transfer these cumulative billions of electronic statements (and wire transfers) is currently more than 90 percent powered by fossil fuels, and specifically coal. Since mountain top removal coal mining has, according to the EPA, deforested seven percent of the Appalachian mountain range, you’re not saving trees by getting electronic statements. Be sure to request paper statements and help America’s tree farmers stay in business. Recycle your statements when you’re through with them.