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Big Win in Sight for Recycled Paper
By Robyn Taylor Knapp

ENVIRON International Corporation released the results from the new study: Life Cycle Assessment of Deinked and Virgin Pulp for National Geographic Society. Results show a benefit in 14 of 14 environmental impact categories of using recovered fiber in place of virgin fiber for magazine paper.

The study, commissioned by National Geographic, is a result of the hard work and success of Green America’s Better Paper Project which has been pushing major magazine publishers away from the use of virgin fiber in magazine paper due to their massive climate-change and forest impacts. In response to the pressure, National Geographic commissioned its own life-cycle-analysis report. It found that recycled paper does have environmental benefit in magazine grade paper—a claim many magazine publishers have been denying for years.

With one of the largest magazine publishers in the country acknowledging the many benefits of using recycled fiber in magazine paper, this could be a huge win for the recycled paper movement.

However, National Geographic’s transition from virgin fiber to recycled fiber is not a done deal—yet. Frank Locantore, Director of the Better Paper Project, recognizes National Geographic for “a process that was transparent, actionable, and inclusive.” Unfortunately National Geographic’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Hans Wegner, stated that the report will only “further inform our own paper manufacturing purchasing practices,” without making any definite plans to switch.

“Many other large magazines and smaller periodicals can feel confident about the substantial environmental benefits if they begin using recycled paper in their magazines. And, the Better Paper Project is happy to help them all find the best paper that meets their needs,” says Locantore.

The Better Paper Project is taking initiatives toward boosting demand for recycled paper. They have been working closely with magazine publishers to choose the best recycled and credibly certified magazine paper for publications. The Better Paper Project also offers magazine promotions for green magazines in order to promote the use of recycled paper. Not only have these promotions encouraged the use of recycled paper, but they have helped publishers increase newsstand sales between 29% and 114%.

Locantore urges National Geographic and other magazine publishers to start purchasing recycled paper now. Currently, only 2% of magazines in the U.S. use recycled paper in publications while forests are disappearing at the rate of 20 football fields per second due to pulp and paper production.

First Affirmative Financial Network strongly supports the Better Paper Project. We offer a special thanks to the hundreds of magazines that already made the switch to recycled paper for demonstrating environmental leadership.


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Posted: August 5, 2013