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Paperless 2013 Campaign: Real Impact or Misconception?

This year, a large group of companies joined forces to create the Paperless Coalition. The primary goal? To remove the paper from “paperwork” and reduce environmental waste. Together, they launched the Paperless 2013 Campaign.

The idea sounded straightforward. If you use less paper, you save more trees. But does reducing paper consumption really make an impact? The answer might be surprising.

Campaigns that stress the environmental impacts of printing are misleading, and often reinforce widespread misconceptions about printing. For example, many people truly believe that printing anything out, whether it be an email, or thousands of marketing pieces is bad for the environment. But this isn’t the case. Read on to learn the surprising truth about printing, and its environmental impacts.

Print Promotes Forests

Every year, local farmers plant crops, like fruits and vegetables. When the timing is right, they harvest the crops and sell them at market. Today’s sustainable forests are grown in a similar way. Tree farms are planted and grown as a crop. When the timing is right, they’re harvested and new trees are planted in their place.  Almost all paper manufactured for the print industry is harvested from sustainable forests. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are both dedicated to promoting the responsible management of forests.

Also, since young trees produce higher levels of carbon dioxide, sustainable forests promote cleaner air. Print offers land owners financial incentives to renew forests, rather than converting the land to other uses, such as development.

Print Uses “Waste”

While a clean sheet of paper might look new, the majority of it was created using waste product. One-third of paper comes from sawmill scraps and wood chips, one-third comes from recycled paper, and the final third is harvested from sustainable forests. This means that two-thirds of paper is generated from “waste” that would have otherwise been thrown away.

In 2009, about 63 percent of paper used in the U.S. was recycled, and this number continues to increase annually. Recycled paper is used to make everything from consumer goods to construction products.

Print is good for Business

With so many new marketing options, from email marketing to online marketing – many companies lose interest in print. But statistics say that not only does print get read, but it’s highly impactful for driving new and repeat business to your doorstep. For example:

  • 39 percent of customers say they tried a new business for the first time because they received a direct mail advertisement
  • 70 percent of customers renewed a business relationship after receiving a direct mail promotion

A study commissioned by the Direct Marketing Association found that direct mail advertising provides a 13 to 1 return on investment for businesses. Shoppers continue to prefer print, with 69 percent of consumers relying on weekly newspapers, and 67 percent relying on direct mail for sales and product information.

Along with the environmental benefits, print continues to be a powerhouse for successful marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s a sustainable and renewable resource that allows paper and forests to thrive together.

Do you have questions about the Paperless 2013 Campaign, or the environmental impact of printing?

If so, we’re happy to help. For more information, contact us through our website, or call (631) 789-4500 today!

To learn more about forest sustainability and forest stewardship, visit the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) websites.