Catford Print Centre and The Environment
However, a balanced view is the way forward - we can't go back
to living in the dark ages.
Renewable & Sustainable Sources
Paper comes from trees - to cut down a tree to make pulp and not replace it is an environmental crime - so we make sure that we buy our paper from mills that treat trees as a crop rather than something to rip from the land. Most pulp manufacturers now work this way and as a tree is cut down, a fresh one is planted to replace it. Our paper therefore comes from sustainable sources. A wry smile always appears when I see well meaning messages on the bottom of emails asking me whether I really need to print it out. It's a bit like asking me whether I really need to eat that potato or salad that's for sale on the supermarket shelf - it's all totally sustainable and fully renewable!
So why do we always see large areas of the Amazon Rain Forest being burned on the TV?
Well this is mainly to make way for cattle to graze, and in any case, any trees that are burned to the ground are not exactly going to be much use for making paper!
Ok, so why do we see loggers chopping down trees in the Amazon then?
Well, whilst you can make paper from several different types of trees, there are environmental rules in Brazil to control logging and for a large national firm to go deep into the Amazon jungle far away from the prying eyes of the authorities and chop down trees to turn into pulp would make no sense. It is not nearly as cost effective as growing these trees in a sustainable way, on land that costs almost nothing to buy, close to transport links and other necessary parts of the economy's infrastructure. This is not to say that there are no dishonest loggers in Brazil but in the main, when large areas of the rain forest are chopped down it is just to make way for cattle or other farming reasons - such as growing bio-fuel.
Some trees are specifically sourced from the rain forest however but these tend to be for making hard wood furniture.
There's no way to hide it - to print on paper we need to use a mixture of ink, water and chemicals.
Proper use of these chemicals has very little impact on the environment - yet their improper disposal certainly does.
It is therefore important that they are disposed of by a specialist company and we currently pay over £4,000 every year to such a firm to collect our waste chemicals on a monthly basis.
Whilst it would be difficult for larger firms to get away with it - some smaller firms still pour them down the toilet!
All of our waste paper is collected for re-cycling - this is not to our financial benefit - we have to pay to have it collected!
We have no control on how or what it is used for but when we buy re-cycled paper ourselves we only use those which have 100% recycled content.
Most other re-cycled papers contain as little as 40% re-cycled pulp - the rest is regular pulp from trees just like normal paper.
Providing they contain this minimum re-cycled content it can bear the re-cycled logo. Most people buying re-cycled paper probably think it is 100% re-cycled.
The re-cycled paper debate is a thorny one. The amount of energy needed to convert paper back into pulp and then back into paper is about the same as making paper from trees. However, whilst there is a saving to the environment due to the reduction in transport costs (ie. no need to transport it from Brazil or Scandinavia), there is a serious increase in the impact on the environment caused by the chemicals needed to de-ink paper.
Metal and Plastic
Once again, we sort items such as empty ink tins and plastic chemical bottles for collection by a specialist re-cycling firm - again at our expense.
Our re-cycling policy last year equalled over 45 trees and saved over 500 cubic meters of land fill.
Fast Web Page Display
Just 2 internet searches can use as much energy as boiling the water for a cup of coffee. This is because of the hundreds of search engines that get activated to compete for each search you make. Whilst you are viewing this web page there is more than just your own computer using up electricity - your ISP server is running, our ISP server is running and who knows what else out there in the ether is eating up electricity just to convey our message to you - it is therefore important that web sites are information-rich and display clearly and as quickly as possible. We therefore stay away from 'Flash Graphics' which have no real bearing on whether or not we have the ability to print your job.
Recently, in Print Week magazine, they reported a story published in the Sunday Times in January 2009 whch discussed the findings of a Harvard physicist who showed that viewing image heavy web sites generated around 12gms of CO2 per minute per user and that just leaving a computer on can generate between 320-640gms of CO2 in 8 hours - that equates to driving about 4km in the most CO2 efficient cars on the market today.
He then went on to show that in total, the IT industry generates the same amount of greenhouse gas as the airline industry and according to Mark Line of environmental campaign group "Two Tomorrows" he feels that there is insufficient transparancy regarding the environmental impact of electronic media and he is of the opinion that perhaps 'print' is the actual green good guy in the communications world.
So it is clear, in theory at least, that an on-line magazine can end up having a worse environmental impact than a printed one. Another wry smile appears when I get that email from my child's school bombarding me with hours of stuff to read about what they've been up to - usually with a caption at the bottom requesting that I don't print out their communication as I could be damaging the planet! It takes me 10 minutes to read it generating up to perhaps around 6gms of CO2 - Well meaning - yes. Well informed - perhaps not!
International Paper, Brazil
Environmental update and sustainability programme.
International Paper, Brazil commemorated the planting of 7.5 million eucalyptus seedlings in January 2008 in its own and third party forestation areas.
Their plan is to plant more than 16 million eucalyptus seedlings by the end of 2008.
At present they manage 102,000 hectares of forestland in the interior of the State of Sao Paulo, of which 24,000 hectares are used for the protection of biodiversity and native forests, whilst the balance is dedicated to the sustainable cultivation of eucalyptus trees that contain approximately 3 million tons of carbon.
To cultivate totally sustainable and renewable forests they have an environmental management system that complies with the international ISO14001 (a certification it obtained in 2000) as well as the Cerflor Brazilian Forestry Certification programme (obtained in 2007). The Cerflor certification is also endorsed by the programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both certifications are recognised by the Bureau Veritas.
Stringent policies are in place that contribute to the environmental preservation of flora and fauna, soil, water and air quality. Total compliance is adhered to for the numerous international sustainability criteria to assure customers that their products are manufactured in a sustainable manner.
International Paper, Brazil are just one of our suppliers and their policy demonstrates that, if treated correctly, a tree is a crop and in no more need of saving than that salad or potato on the supermarket shelf.
Everyone must consider the environment - it's the most valuable single asset we will leave our children.
However, a balanced view is the way forward - we can't go back to living in the dark ages.