Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prints, Paper, and Pixels

At, we love to print. (We love to print simple books, manuals, and other high page count documents, that is.) But, we also strive to be responsible stewards of our environment.

Frequently, paper use gets a bad reputation as something negative for the environment while computer use gets a positive review. A closer look shows that this is not at all true.

Here are some interesting facts provided by International Paper in their case study titled "Down to Earth- A practical look at environmental issues and Trends" comparing paper & printing to their usual substitute, pixels.

* The amount of energy needed to produce 110,000 sheets of office paper will only power a computer continuously for 5 months.

*Nearly 60% of all paper in the US is recycled. Only 18% of electronic devices are recycled and electronic device waste constitutes the single largest toxic waste export of the US.

*Paper is inherently renewable. The paper and forest products industry replenishes more than it takes, and ensures the sustainability by planting treees at a rate exceeding 3x what is harvested. There is no renewable equivalent for computers and gadgets, which consist of petroleum-based plastics and mined minerals.

There are different reasons to use each. The purpose of this post is to show that going with pixels over paper is not automatically a "green" result.

Just choose the best method for your situation.


A copy of the case study can be obtained for free from here.