Facts you Should Know About the Sustainability of Print and Paper

Two Sides North America tracks and promotes verifiable information on why print is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium. Two recently published fact sheets dispel common misconceptions about the sustainability of paper and the paper-making industry.

One fact sheet examines whether electronic communication is more sustainable than printed materials. The other fact sheet provides an updated look at the carbon footprint of the paper industry.

Electronic Communication

Are “go paperless” appeals to help the environment by eliminating paper based on sound science or on marketing strategies? That’s the key question raised in a new Electronic Communications fact sheet published by Two Sides North America.

Download the Electronic Communication fact sheet here.

While paper is a recyclable material made with renewable energy sources, electronic communications uses energy-consuming devices that are made with non-renewable resources. When considering the environmental impact of electronic communications, it’s easy to overlook factors such as the growth in energy consumption in the data centers required for cloud computing and the increase in e-waste created by shorter life cycles for smartphones, e-readers, and tablets.

In a recent consumer survey commissioned by Two Sides in the U.S. and Canada, 58 to 61% of respondents agreed that claims about switching from paper to digital being better for the environment were made because the sender wants to save money.

Renewable Energy and Carbon Footprint

Like many manufacturing enterprises, papermaking is an energy-intensive endeavor. This fact sheet explains why the carbon footprint of paper is smaller than might be expected.

Download the Renewable Energy and Carbon Footprint Fact sheet here.

When looking at the life cycle of paper, the carbon footprint can be divided into three basic elements: greenhouse gas emission reduction, carbon sequestration, and avoided emissions. Paper’s carbon footprint isn’t as great as some might believe because paper is made from a renewable resource that stores carbon, it’s manufactured using mostly renewable energy and it’s recyclable.

The experts at Two Sides North America believe that “The responsible manufacture, use and recycling of print and paper contribute to long-term, sustainable forest management in North America and help mitigate climate change.”

At Freedom Paper, we agree with their conclusion that “Print and paper will remain an important element in our media mix, and will also continue to provide social and economic benefits that contribute significantly to the well-being of North American businesses and citizens alike.”

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