However, some designers see the term “green” as direct opposition to their craft. The truth is, print designers have more options than ever, and access to these options is only increasing.
I must confess: I love paper.
I think there are two big issues when it comes to using paper responsibly. Sorry designers, you are the biggest issue (I’ll discuss the second in another post.) Fortunately, you are the easiest obstacle to overcome. I can’t say how much change a little education can create. Let’s dispel some of the more common myths:
Myth: There just aren’t that many papers available. If I don’t have a variety, why bother?
Truth: I am looking at a sample book supplied by Mohawk called “loop.” In this book there are a variety of papers, I think I can say about a thousand. There are a variety of colors, textures, thicknesses and each has a unique environmental profile. There are more options than you could possibly imagine.
Myth: All paper uses trees, so it’s all the same.
Truth: A single sheet of white paper may be made from virgin fiber (freshly cut) shipped from overseas (what powers that boat?) is bleached (if you won’t drink it, it can’t be good for the environment) and then shipped out. So even if the paper you’re using is 30% Post Consumer Waste (it uses paper that has already served one life and is being reused) you’re taking 30% of that bleached, shipped, tree killing paper out of the equation. And supporting the people who make recycled paper.
Myth: My print run is small and it won’t make an impact; I’ll worry on a bigger job.
Truth: This argument always makes me angry. Every bit counts. It would be as if liberators said, “I won’t free a slave unless I can free them all.” Yes. I’m extremely strong in my belief that no matter how small, a positive action is still positive. A lot of small positive actions is called a movement. Be part of that movement.
Myth: It costs more.
Truth: I’m sorry to say, many environmentally friendly alternatives are available at competitive prices. It only takes a bit of research to see what exactly is available. Looking at Mohawk paper prices, the difference is negligible on larger print jobs. Again, even 30% PCW (which is a cheaper than 100% PCW) is better than 100% virgin fiber.
Myth: My printer doesn’t carry environmentally friendly papers.
Truth: I find it hard to believe that your printer doesn’t carry a house stock of paper that doesn’t have at least 30% PCW. Even my online printer (which I use for small print jobs) offers a wide variety of green(er) options. This is the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with your printer. Call them and ask to come in (or do it on the phone) and let them know, “Okay, I’m ready to try some environmentally friendly options…where do I begin?”
I’m sure there are more. I’m curious what are other issues really deter you from using environmentally friendly papers? I’m sure there will come times when you have your environmentally friendly options removed, so I’m curious to hear what those situations might be as well.