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Why Scaling Back on Printing isn’t “Going Green”

The bank statement arrives. Inside, there’s a message that says “Go green, sign up for online monthly statements.” At first glance, it sounds straightforward. After all, saving paper is like saving trees – right?

Not always.

Over the past decade, more businesses have implemented plans to improve environmental responsibility.

And, while scaling back on printed materials might seem like an easy way to reduce waste, it doesn’t necessarily translate into “going green.”

The Impact of Paper

Using e-readers is all the rage. Yet some people still insist on reading materials on paper. Why? It’s simple. Reading on paper has benefits that extend beyond personal preference, including:

  • 20 to 30 percent faster reading, compared to using a screen
  • Increased accuracy for tasks like proofreading
  • Lower eye fatigue than on screen reading
  • Higher comprehension and easier navigation

The latest research also shows that printed communications make a sizable impact on businesses and the economy. These benefits include:

  • A 13-to-1 return on investment on printed direct mail pieces
  • Increased effectiveness, with 80 percent of households reading or scanning printed materials sent to the home
  • Growing direct response rates, when email marketing is declining

The research is clear. Printed materials have the ability to drive higher revenue. That’s why U.S. advertisers are spending an average of $167 per person on direct mail marketing, yielding $2,095 worth of goods per person. But what about environmental responsibility?

Paper is Recyclable

Unlike PDAs, computers, e-readers and other electronic devices, paper decomposes in landfills. This means, it’s not dangerous. In contrast, many electronic devices leak harmful amounts of lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and polyvinyl chlorides into the earth.

When printing, consider this:

  • 37 percent of U.S. pulp is produced from recovered paper
  • 45 percent recycled content is used in tissue products
  • 260 pounds of paper is recovered for each man, woman and child in America as of 2007

Most recovered paper is recycled back into paper and paperboard products. Also, recovered paper can be used in a variety of products, including: egg cartons, fruit trays, wall insulation, roofing and even animal bedding.

The Best of Both Worlds: Print AND be Green

When you recycle paper, you get the best of both worlds. Customers enjoy the benefits of traditional paper reading – and you stand out from the competition.

Plus, you can feel better knowing that the products you print can be recycled, and won’t leak harmful chemicals into landfills.