Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Survey Says....Recycled Paper!

Business take notice: A survey released this week by Cone, Inc. reveals that Americans report increased environmental consciousness and an expectation that companies will take action.

The 2007 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey released today finds one-third of Americans (32%) report heightened interest in the environment compared to a year ago. In addition, they are overwhelmingly looking to companies to act: 93% of Americans believe companies have a responsibility to help preserve the environment.

What does this mean specifically for paper companies and high profile paper users? Some of the surveys other findings are directly relevant. Among specific company actions identified was designing products/packaging with more environmentally-friendly contents and minimal packaging - expected by 69% of the public, second only to reducing pollution.

Among those Americans who report buying environmentally-friendly products, at the top of the list of what they buy are products with recycled content - at 62%.

The bottom line? The vast majority of Americans (91%) say they have a more positive image of a company when it is environmentally responsible. On the flip side, almost as many (85%) indicated they would consider switching to another company's products or services because of a company's negative corporate responsibility practices.


Anonymous said...

Whilst re-using paper to make newsprint and packaging is environmentally sound, recycled paper often just doesn't make sense. Until every newspaper and every piece of packaging is made from re-used material there is simply no logic in trying to clean 'dirty paper' back into pristine white sheets.

The re-cycling process, whilst getting cleaner, is still harmful - in order to clean the paper pulp effectively. Recycling itself though is really not the issue. The main problem is that tree's are still being felled in order to produce newsprint and packaging, so recycled paper is being used for commercial print when it should be used for packaging or newspapers. said...

The Magazine PAPER Project at Co-op America ( provides free assistance and expertise to magazine publishers who are interested in switching to recycled paper.

Currently more than 95% of all magazines (18,000+ titles) contain ZERO recycled content. 35 million trees are cut down each year, with a huge number coming from threatened and endangered forests (including Canada's Boreal). This is equivalent to land cleared larger than the state of Florida.

The paper and production industry is incredibly harmful to the environment. Not only does it contribute in a significant way to global warming (for example, the trees that would have otherwise have captured CO2 are now dead), but also contaminates our water supply, and the trees needed for paper come from areas of social conflict.

Switching to recycled paper is THE number one thing a magazine can do to decrease its negative environmental impact. There are only 100 magazines that use recycled paper, but they are making an incredible difference. View a comprehensive list of magazines that use recycled paper by visiting our website.

Producing recycled paper is not nearly as harmful as producing virgin (directly from the tree) paper. Less chemicals are used, and no trees are killed to make this paper. Plus, it's quite easy to brighten recycled paper to the point that it looks indistinguishable from white virgin sheets.

Recycled paper should be used as often as possible. It's currently the most effective way we are going to be able to save what forests remain.

Encourage all your favorite magazines to go green, and to contact us to learn how!

Jennifer Gerholdt
PAPER Project Coordinator

Susan Kinsella said...

The comment recommending that all newspaper and packaging be made from recycled materials before turning to recycled content in printing and office paper indicates a fundamental misunderstanding about paper recycling. Newsprint is made from an entirely different kind of pulp than most office papers. They do not compete with each other.

Newsprint mills do not want office paper in their recycling systems because it does not break back down into fibers the same way that old newspapers do, resulting in an apples-and-oranges processing problem. Mills that make most printing and writing papers do not want newspapers because, again, they use a different kind of pulp and the newspapers are contaminants in it. So the beauty of the system is that they each want a different part of the recovered paper stream.

Likewise with packaging. Mills making the outer layers of corrugated boxes want old corrugated boxes to recycle. Neither newsprint nor office/printing papers have the fiber strength needed for boxes. Mills making some kinds of paperboard boxes, such as for dry foods and consumer products, can often use mixed kinds of papers.

But there's a good reason for keeping the office papers separate to make new office papers - the kind of pulp needed for those papers is the most environmentally demanding, and replacing some of it with recycled pulp creates the greatest environmental savings of all the paper industry sectors.

The good news is that there's no need to fight over the pieces of the pie. If the papers are sorted out, each part of the paper industry can use a different part of the recovered paper stream. This achieves the greatest amount of recycling, which is a much cleaner and less-resource-intensive process than making paper from trees. See Environmental Defense's paper calculator at to find out the difference for different kinds of paper products.

Susan Kinsella