Myth- Paper is bad for the environment
Fact – Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products
To dispel the myths that paper use for printing and direct mail are responsible for the worlds deforestation issues, companies from the graphic communications supply chain including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal service operators came together to create TwoSides, who’s common goal is to promote the facts about the sustainability of the graphic communications supply chain and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.
THE MYTH -Digital is always the preferred means of communication
THE FACT – Many consumers still value paper-based communication
We all believe that it is every consumer’s right to choose, without disadvantage, how they are contacted by governments, banks and other financial service companies, utility companies, media companies and other service providers. Increasingly businesses are restricting access to paper bills and statements and denying their customers an informed choice.
Often it is the most vulnerable members of society that depend on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online-only society risks leaving older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected.
An international survey of over 10,700 consumers, commissioned by Two Sides in 2017, found:
- Consumers worldwide prefer to read the printed version of books (72%), magazines (72%) and newspapers/news (55%) over digital options. Many respondents also indicated that reading in print is more enjoyable than reading electronically.
- More consumers believe they gain a deeper understanding of news stories when reading from print media (65%) over online news sources (49%). In addition, consumers also trust the stories they read in printed newspapers (51%) more than stories found on social media (24%).
- Many consumers (68%) do not pay attention to online advertisements and 57% do their best to avoid them. 46% would be more likely to take an action after seeing an advertisement in a printed newspaper or magazine than they would if they saw the same ad online.
- 89% of consumers believe that they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically), at no extra charge, from financial organisations and service providers.
THE MYTH – European forests are shrinking
THE FACT – European forests have been growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day
European forests have grown by over 1,500 football pitches every day between 2005 -2015!
Paper is a uniquely renewable and sustainable product. The main raw material, trees, are grown and harvested in a carefully controlled and sustainable way – so successfully that European forests, where most of the raw material comes from, have grown by 44,000 Square Kilometres an area the size of Switzerland in just 10 years!
THE MYTH – Planted Forests are bad for the environment
THE FACT – Well-managed planted forests reduce the pressure on natural forests and can provide many other environmental benefits FACT – 50% of the world’s wood harvest is used as fuel. Over 30% is processed for other industrial uses, such as construction and furniture. Only around 13% is used to make paper
Forests are essential for the transition to the green economy. Well managed planted forests are a vital element in the global forestry mix.
Natural forest accounts for 93% of world’s forest area with planted forest occupying 7%, or 290 million hectares.1 Today forests and other wooded land in the EU-28 amount to about 180 million hectares, making Europe one of the most forest-rich regions in the world, with more than 42% of its land covered by forests
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Forests are rich in biodiversity and valuable for recreation, water regulation and soil protection. As well as for providing timber and other non-wood forest products, forests are important for mitigating climate change and for the renewable energy sector — over a single year, a mature tree will take up approximately 22 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, and, in exchange, release oxygen.
THE MYTH – Paper production is a major cause of global greenhouse gas emissions
THE FACT – Most of the energy used is renewable and carbon intensity is surprisingly low
The environmental impact of our personal paper consumption may not be as high as you think either. In Europe, we each use an average of 125kg of paper every year.2 This amount of paper
produces 84kg of CO2 3 which is equal to driving about 500 miles in the average European car.4 By buying paper from sustainably managed forests and always recycling, we really do not have to feel guilty about using this natural and renewable product. By buying paper from sustainably managed forests and always recycling, we really do not have to feel guilty about using this natural and renewable product.
THE MYTH – Only recycled paper should be used
THE FACT – New fibres from sustainably managed forests are needed to maintain the paper cycle
Paper fibre can be recycled several times, yet not indefinitely, depending on the paper grade. Therefore, there is a continuous need to feed the inflow of recovered fibre with paper products made of new pulp. Paper recycling needs to continuously incorporate a certain amount of fresh fibres for three main reasons: strength, quality and availability.
THE MYTH – Paper is a wasteful product
THE FACT – Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world
Paper is recycled, on average, 3.6 times a year in Europe, while 54% of the fibre for Europe’s paper industry is from paper for recycling. Paper cannot be recycled indefinitely as fibres get too short and worn out to be useful in creating a new sheet of paper. More importantly, the production cannot be based on 100% recycled fibre, as 100% of consumption cannot be collected, and Europe is also a global net exporter of paper which is then consumed and collected outside of Europe. The cycle must therefore constantly be refilled with new fibres from sustainably managed forests.
The European paper recycling rate is 72%, which is approaching the practical theoretical maximum recycling rate of 78%. Some paper products cannot be recovered for recycling because they are kept for long periods of time (books) or archived (records); others are destroyed or contaminated when used (e.g. tissue and hygienic paper).
THE MYTH – Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication
THE FACT – Electronic communication also has environmental impacts
“Go Paperless”, “Go Green” and “Save Trees” are common messages seen these days as many organisations encourage their customers to switch to electronic transactions and communications. But are these appeals based on fact?
These sort of messages give the impression that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than traditional, paper-based communication. But it is very difficult to make such a statement without considering the full lifetime of those different mediums.
Paper is a uniquely renewable and sustainable product. The main raw material, wood, is grown and harvested in a carefully controlled and sustainable way. The environmental impacts of our ever-increasing digital world cannot be ignored. The ICT industry accounts for around 2.5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040. Businesses and individuals are increasingly using ‘cloud’ services. These mega data-centres store almost everything we do online; including our web searches, our social media posts and our online statements.
To date, over 500 of the world’s largest organisations have been found to be using greenwash statements in their communications. Of those, around 70% have removed their misleading statements as a direct result of being challenged by Two Sides. It is important to mention that not all greenwashing is due to purposely misleading customers. Often it is down to genuine and common misconceptions about Print and Paper.
THE MYTH – Packaging is wasteful and unnecessary
THE FACT – Paper-based packaging protects goods, reduces waste and is recyclable
Packaging reduces waste. Recycling wastepaper and packaging responsibly reduces litter and landfill.
The primary function of packaging in all its forms; plastics, tins, glass and paperboard is to protect goods whilst in transit, storage and distribution. It prevents waste through breakage, spoilage and contamination, and extends product shelf life. A secondary, but important, purpose is to provide consumer information about the product and help with brand identity and differentiation. Minimising waste, particularly food, is a vital global challenge.
- In the EU, more paper-based packaging is recycled than any other packaging material combined.
- Efficient packaging reduces damage in transit to below 5%
- It prevents waste through breakage, spoilage & contamination and extends product shelf life
- Provides consumer information about the product and acts as a means of brand differentiation
Paper-based packaging has an excellent environmental record. On average, UK manufactured corrugated boxes contain 76% recycled fibre. Once used, paper-based packaging is easy to recycle. In the UK and Europe, the collection of packaging is hugely successful with over 80% collected for recycling. This superb recycling rate prevents an area of board the size of Greater London from going to landfill every four months.
For more detailed information on this article please visit https://www.twosides.info/