One area of concern is paper. As fuel costs have come down, publishers looking to save money on distribution are looking at heavier paper. Although the paper itself costs more than lightweight grades, the heavier stock allows them to take advantage of lower freight rates, which have come down significantly since last summer’s peak oil prices.
The Dead Tree Edition, for example, recently encouraged periodical publishers to consider this option in an article “Heavier Paper Can Save Money.”
But at what environmental cost? Heavier paper may cost less to ship, but it takes more fuel. You’ve got the same number of pages, carrying the same amount of information, but at a higher level of fuel consumption. Heavier paper also takes more energy to transport and ship before printing.
So is heavier paper really the right choice? Are there other design considerations you could make that could save money without going to freight?
- Could you adjust the trim size so that you more efficiently use the sheet of paper (get more “up” on the sheet)?
- Could you more tightly target your mailings so that you are sending fewer, but more relevant pages to recipients?
- How about just cleaning up your list so that you are not producing catalogs or magazines that are sent to undeliverable addresses?
Moving to heavier basis weight paper might be one way to save money, but there are other ways to save money, too — ways that are more environmentally responsible. So before you take the easy way out, ask yourself, “Is it worth the environmental cost?”
Like this post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.
Image: courtesy of The Stock Xchange (magazines 2, uploaded by lusi)