Submitted by: Phil Riebel 06/01/2012
There is a debate that is going on in the publishing industry about sustainability that seems like it is mostly for the undereducated and terribly misinformed. If you really understand "green", which most of us don't, it is terribly wrong for the green wanna be's to insist that recycled paper be forced into all virgin pulp for a proper carbon footprint.
WRONG! Forcing recycled paper into the virgin fiber process of paper making is in most cases counter-productive to a successful green footprint. It takes more carbon energy to introduce into the substrate what is not necessary or efficient to be there. I am very much for recycling and real sustainability, but I am not an advocate of idiotic programs for the sake of the uneducated who insist the something must be done regardless of the true science. There are great and wonderful uses of recycled paper, some of which is in printed products and each day science is creating more creative uses for the renewable product. If we are worried about a carbon footprint, we shouldn't be using more energy instead of less just so we can put a label on something, which gives the false impression of helping the planet.
The amount of paper in the landfills or out of the landfills is a completely different question. The biggest reason landfills have paper isn't because mills won't use it. The real reason is because people and some businesses are lazy and don't intend to be part of the solution; they are actually part of the problem.
The answer to all this is education, legislation and common sense. We all know that common sense isn't that common, so that leaves us with education and legislation. I have little faith that either is going to happen any time soon, so we will be left with completely wrong headed groups demanding that we need recycled paper in every magazine, when it just isn't true. That logic is a public relations move that confuses or misleads the public about the realities and truth of what a green business and a green publishing house is all about.