Now, more than ever before, people are concerned about the environment and our carbon footprint. There are a lot of things negatively impacting the world. However, some might be surprised to learn the industry they believe is one of the most harmful, is in fact, quite Eco friendly. Significantly more so than most industries.
What industry are we talking about?
That's right. Paper manufacturing isn't nearly as harmful as people have been led to believe. In fact, the print and paper industries contribute less than 1% to the Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. That's incredibly low. Meanwhile, electronics and communication technologies are estimated to be producing 3.5%. Smart phones alone are believed to be producing 11% of the Communication Industry's 3.5% carbon footprint. By 2040 electronic and communication tech is expected to be 14% of all carbon emissions. The switch to only wireless communication isn't looking so Earth friendly.
How does paper have such a low impact?
Aren't they cutting down too many trees?
Doesn't paper add more waste?
These questions and more, are probably running through your head.
Save the Planet, Use Paper
The most common myth with paper production is deforestation. Agriculture is actually the largest industry affecting forests. Yay... food? Paper and print, on the other hand, follow strict rules and government regulation. Trees for paper production come from tree farms. Which by the way, those tree farms have kept forest growth stable in the past 100 years. With an exception between 2000 to 2005; when forest area grew by 2 million acres.
Would you believe there are actually 20% more trees than there were on the very first Earth Day back in 1970?
How do we have more trees now?
A Family of Forests.
Fun fact, 35% of all forest areas are owned by families. That's more than the government or private industries. The wood and paper industry not only are Eco friendly; they supply thousands of jobs in the US. There are approximately 950,000 men and women currently working in one of these industries. Of course, this includes the families who sell and produce trees in their privately-owned forest land. Because that's how many of these families make their lively hood. Without the wood industry these families and workers wouldn't be able to survive. Generations of family land would be lost.
On another note, the coolest part about family owned forests: they plant roughly 4 million trees A DAY. For a little perspective, that's about 5 trees per person in the US. Each of those trees is absorbing about 10 lbs. of CO2 each year. The forests also create more sustainable land for wildlife. And they produce 2/3 of the US's drinking water.
Now let’s talk production...
Print, Recycle, Repeat
The US had 68% for paper recovery recycling last year. All that recycled paper goes back into new paper products. In fact, paper is made from 1/3 recycled paper, 1/3 wood chips and sawmill left overs, and only 1/3 comes from 'fresh' trees harvested from tree farms. For each ton of paper that is recycled it saves landfills from 3.3 cubic yards of waste.
Eco Friendly Marketing
In today's world, content is primarily digital. Yet many companies recently added print and direct mail to their marketing mix. It's their way of combating the online onslaught of ads vying for attention. Print was predicted to die, instead we're seeing it rise. And not only are advertisers who use direct mail and print standing out, they're doing more for the environment. A little less digital and a little more physical. Not to mention many companies ROI's have increased with the addition of print sources like direct mail.