Time to bust a myth about the environmental impact of printing

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Printing is bad for the environment. We must use less paper. Save the trees, save the world. That’s what everyone says, isn’t it?

Well, it’s time to bust a myth about the printing industry: it’s much, much greener than you think.

 

The pressure to go paperless

We’re under constant pressure to go paperless because we’re led to believe that it’s good for the environment. Environmental protection advocates bombard us with alarming statistics about paper consumption, such as… 

  • The United States alone cuts down 68 million trees just for paper production — shocking! 
  • In the last 20 years, the usage of paper products in the US and Canada has increased by 126% from 92 million tonnes to 208 million — crazy! 
  • About 18 million acres of global forest are lost each year, equivalent to 20 football fields every minute — terrible

Ah, but the paperless pushers only ever give us half the story and, by doing so, present a wildly inaccurate picture of what’s really going on.

 

Setting the record straight: print is green

The US does indeed cut down 68 million trees a year to make paper. But what the advocates of the paperless agenda fail to tell you is that the wood and paper products industries plant 1.7 million trees a day. That means they’re planting 620.5 million trees each year — way, way more than they’re cutting.

And even though paper consumption in North America has increased, there are nearly 750 million acres of forest in the US alone, which is about the same as there were 100 years ago. We may be losing 18 million acres of forest worldwide, but that’s not down to the paper industry. The vast majority of tropical deforestation is caused by cattle ranching, large-scale soybean farming, and oil palm plantations.

The paper and printing industries are actually among the biggest causes of reforestation. Along with the aforementioned 1.7 million US-planted trees, Canada adds another 600 million seedlings each year. And according to the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), the managed European forests that provide 80% of the paper used by UK printers are growing by 1,500 football pitches every day.  

Contrary to what the paperless pushers say, printing is one of the most sustainable industries there is. Apart from the fact that trees are a completely renewable energy source, there is a trend towards sustainability in the production of paper, too. The industry has made an impressive commitment to reducing clearcutting, water use, fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaning up its impact on air pollution and local water supplies.

Edward L. Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, says, “When people use more paper, suppliers plant more trees. If we want bigger commercial forests, then we should use more paper, not less. Our policies should directly protect important wildlife habitats, not try to reduce our demand for paper.”

 

We still love paper — and that’s good

A 2017 international survey by Two Sides revealed that 72% of consumers prefer reading printed books and magazines. Similarly, a 2016 survey by Epson revealed that 64% of employees across Europe would rather read reports and ad brochures on printed paper. Epson’s survey also revealed that 83% thought that a paperless office was unrealistic, while 86% thought a ban on printing in the workplace would limit productivity. 

So print isn’t going anywhere. People still want it — consumers and businesses alike. That’s good, because the continued use of paper and printing is actually having a very positive environmental impact.

 

Having said all that, there’s nothing wrong with cutting paper from your own service operations

As a managed print services business, cutting out paper from your own processes is still a good step forwards. But it’s nothing to do with the environment, sustainability, or your carbon footprint. It’s a step towards greater efficiency and profitability — pure and simple. Digitising your workflow with service management software enables:

  • real-time communication between your admin teams and your field technicians
  • faster scheduling and task planning
  • reduced costs and improved cash flow
  • fewer errors
  • instantaneous invoicing
  • more accurate and comprehensive reporting
  • improved customer satisfaction

Evatic offers an intelligent, end-to-end service management solution specially designed for MPS providers. It will automate and optimise every stage of your operation so that you can provide a more proactive, more effective, and more profitable service to your customers. To find out more, visit our Contact Us page, or send us at email at sales@evatic.com.

 

Sources:

Paper as a sustainable choice

Paper Because

Print and paper packs a punch in a digital world

The Paperless Project