One kind of industry rarely discussed among environmental movements is the paper business.
It seems like such an obvious industry – paper is made from trees, after all.
The consensus seems to be that there are two options facing the future of paper: make recycled paper or make it electronic. Recycled paper, obviously, is paper made from paper that has already been used and recycled. This can be extremely efficient; the first recorded instance of making recycled paper in the United States was 1690 and has only been improved since then. Most paper today is actually used for packaging, so using recycled paper only makes more sense.
Electronic paper (e-paper) is a little more interesting. This has been most visible the past few years in e-book readers (notably the Amazon Kindle) and electronic billboards. The debate is still up on whether or not it is green. It saves trees – but what about the chemicals? For example, most plastic used in computers is made from petroleum. That leaves me at least to conclude that recycled paper is much more efficient than e-paper.
How can recycled paper be made more efficient?
• Paper waste must be recycled
• Printing facilities can be closer to where you live (this one’s arguable; building another facility arguably creates more emissions that it saves – it depends)
• Use soy based inks rather than petroleum based ones
One printing company I’ve found to have truly green printing is PsPrint. It does everything I’ve bulleted above.
Of course there are plenty of other green companies, but none are as local for me as PsPrint. It does brochure printing and everything, which is especially good for the business I’m in. They are also involved with or members of several eco-friendly organizations! :)