Paper has been in use for nearly 2000 years, and during this time it has arguably become the most effective and versatile means of transmitting a message there is. Even in today’s digital age with a wide range of alternative media to choose from, paper’s visual and tactile qualities simply can’t be matched by electronic alternatives.
Nowadays, however, environmental concerns are rightly near the top of most agendas, and have increasing influence over the decisions we make. As the environmental debate has gathered momentum, so have the myths and misconceptions around the paper industry, suggesting that it is responsible for deforestation and has an adverse impact on the environment.
But there are (at least) two sides to every discussion and an argument can be made that paper has a great environmental story to tell. This is, after all, an industry that depends on a renewable source for its principal raw material, and one that leads the world in recycling. So, in order to counter the myths and misconceptions about the paper industry, it is supporting an initiative called ‘Two Sides’ – which claims to present the real facts about paper production, use and recycling. It also promotes the use of recycled materials, and responsible forestry management through chain of custody management schemes such as the one run by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
European forests are now 30% larger
The campaign tell us, for example, that in Europe the paper industry has played a large part in actually increasing the size of our forests, so that they are now 30% larger than in 1950. And over the period 1990-2010, 870 million tonnes of CO2 have been removed from the atmosphere by trees in European forests. In terms of reuse, the number of cycles a paper fibre goes through reached an average of 3.4 in 2012 in Europe and most (over 84%) of the paper recovered in Europe is recycled in Europe.
I don’t think anyone should say that this is sufficient, or that more could not be done, but it does seem worth keeping in mind when every second email that pings into your inbox asks you to “please consider the environment, and do not print this email unless you have to”.
Being an environmentally responsible printer
At PrintHouse we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. We ensure that there is a clear chain of custody for our paper and all materials. This means that when you place a print oder with us, you can be secure in the knowledge that the environment is being protected too.