Many use up to 100% renewable energy in their daily energy use and have installed proactive recycling methods to capture paper waste. Most subscribe to organizations such as FSC, Rain forest alliance, and Green-e to name a few. The use of vegetable based inks has all but completely replaced petroleum based inks. Many print company CEOs will tell you that lowering their carbon footprint and recycling is not just the right thing to do, but it adds another revenue stream.

The industry in general has been seen as a culprit in carbon pollution through tree harvesting, which suggests that declining the use books and magazines helps the environment. Yet many experts agree that responsible forest management is the best way to fight climate change. For every tree harvested by the US paper companies, an average of three trees are planted, serving to actually reverse the industry's carbon footprint.

Paper is one of the most recycled products in the USA recovering 63% or 340 lbs per person per year. US paper mills generate 2/3 of their own energy from renewable biomass. They are the largest producer of the nation's renewable biomass - which exceeds all of the energy supplied by solar, wind and geothermal in the USA combined. It's helpful to compare printing with the closest competitor, the computer industry.

  • Burning one CD produces 4 times CO2 as printing one book.
  • Reading a newspaper online produces 25% more CO2 than reading an actual newspaper.
  • In the last 25 years average energy consumption of US data centers has increased 24% per year. The paper industry in the same time has dropped in energy consumption by 42% per year, due to sustainability efforts. The average energy used by just one computer data center can power 25,000 housholds.
  • Each year 62 trillion spam emails are sent producing greenhouse gases equivalent to 2 billion gallons of gasoline used.

So the message - "please consider the environment before printing this email" should probably be changed to "before forwarding this email...."

Forestry is the most sustainable of all primary industries that provide us with energy and materials. To address climate change we must use more wood, not less.

-Dr Patrick Moore, Co-founder Greenpeace