Lead story from the July 2009 edition of The Hard Copy Supplies Journal
International Paper Says 'Paper Is Greener Than Pixels,' But Is It?
On June 24, International Paper (IP) released a new publication that aims to set the record straight on which is less harmful to the environment: paper or electronic media. The firm added Pixels vs. Paper: Are pixels greener than paper?" to its Down To Earth line of brochures, which focus on environment-related subjects such as lowering carbon emissions and recycling fibers in paper production. The giant Memphis, TN-based papermaker claimed its latest brochure offers "some facts that may surprise you" regarding the more benign side of communicating via hard copy rather than electronically.
We were intrigued by IP's new brochure because we frequently write about the environmental impact of digital printing on paper, and much of our coverage has suggested that generating hard copy documents is far from a "green" endeavor. Our readers may remember articles covering the energy consumed during the production of toner or the tons of waste that results from the increasing number of empty ink and toner cartridges being consigned to the landfill. Of course, we also have noted the adverse effects of paper, including deforestation and the problems that arise when attempting to dispose of paper and media products that are not recyclable.
Pixels vs. Paper is a six-page document that makes various comparisons of paper to electronic media. The press release announcing the availability of the new publication warned of the downside of computer usage, so it was with some sense of irony that we fired up the computer and surfed to the IP Web site. In addition to offering the publication as a downloadable PDF, like other Down To Earth brochures, IP publishes Pixels vs. Paper as a hard copy tri-fold mailer, which can be ordered from the firm's Web site along with other hard copy Down To Earth brochures such as "Carbon Footprint: How big is your carbon footprint?" and "Recycled vs. Virgin: Is recycled paper the best you can do?" The site also offers other materials, like swatch books and various promotional and marketing materials.
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