in ,

The New Green Media: Print

I know I’ve been a bit like a dog on a bone about the fact that print is not necessarily the enemy, but I think it’s important. Marketers are being hit like a locomotive with the idea that e-mail and other electronic media are green because they don’t use paper, but there is a lot more to environmental friendliness than cutting tree. Like . . . energy use.

This week, the print industry will gather in Chicago at Print 09 (September 11 – 16), one of its largest annual trade shows. There, the The Print Council will promote a new position paper titled, “Why Print Is Green.”

“Our industry is a leader in recycling, sustainability and pollution control,” says Ben Cooper, executive director of The Print Council. “In fact, we pioneered putting those concepts into widespread practice over the past three decades. But we did so quietly, to the extent that there is a lack of awareness regarding the environmentally responsible nature of print.

“Why Print Is Green” describes ten specific ways in which print is green, from the responsible products used, renewable energy sourced, increased recycling rates, to improved design and delivery methods. The report is intended to demonstrate why print media is the environmentally sound choice for communicating with the audiences they want to reach.

  • Among the facts the white paper documents:
  • In 2008, more than 57% of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, more than any material.
  • The paper industry is aiming to reach 60% recycling by 2012. Every additional percentage point means that a million tons of paper are recovered.
  • Less than 10% of U.S. power comes from renewable sources, but in the pulp and paper industry, that figure is greater than 60%.
  • Printers are frequent buyers of renewable-energy certificates. These certificates, which represent power generated by wind, hydro, solar, or biomass, support growth of renewable energy producers.
  • The average person’s paper use for a year (440 pounds) is produced by 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the amount used to power one computer continuously for five months.

“Media buyers and marketers who believe that print is lagging as an environmentally friendly medium need to know these facts, which show that print is in fact leading in this critical area,” Cooper points out. “’Why Print Is Green’ will document the information, serving as an easy-to-use reference guide for print producers and print consumers.”

Printed copies of the report can be ordered via email. Contact Joanne Vinyard at

Like this Post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Opening of SoCap09, Marshalling Resources for Innovation

Is Social Security “Windfall” Penalty Fair to Labor?