When the PM announced the gradual easing of Lockdown 3.0, UK businesses aim to come back to normality greener and environmentally sustainable.
Print matters more than ever.
The government announced several new initiatives to encourage the UK to commit to ensuring that within the next ten years, the UK will be at the forefront of the green revolution and accelerate our progress to net zero emissions by 2050.
As we endured the first lockdown, there were visible improvements in air quality due to fewer emissions and less noise pollution.
As we return to everyday life, it won’t be long before air pollution reaches pre-pandemic levels.
What about the print industry?
The print industry continues to be at the forefront of sustainability and works tirelessly to be greener.
There are still misconceptions about the sustainability of print, notably e-communications and false messages like Go Green, Go paperless and save trees are regular messages you see on the foot of an email or a household bill.
The truth is that print is highly sustainable.
Paper is a renewable and sustainable product; the raw material is wood and is grown and harvested while being carefully controlled and managed sustainably.
In 2018 the European recycling rate for paper was 72% and was recycled on average 3.5 times a year.
The European pulp and paper industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe. 60% of the European pulp and paper mills energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
What about digital?
The ICT ecosystem of our ever-increasing digital world is having a significant impact on the environment.
The ICT creates 2.5% – 3% of global greenhouse emissions and is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040.
53% of the world’s carbon emissions produced from the extraction of the raw materials needed to make the customary hi-tech gadgets we use every day of our lives is the world’s fastest-growing waste products.
Electronic and digital communications are not necessarily the utopia businesses believe it is?
Many print manufacturers have excellent environmental accreditations and processes in place and, in many instances, lead the way to increased sustainability.
There is always more that we can do, and manufacturing produces by-products; it’s the nature of the process.
Surprisingly print and paper still get a bad rap.
Reading a book is taboo because innocent trees are cut down.
And, as for Direct mail, do we need it if search engines garner the information we want?
Ignorance of the nature of paper and print doesn’t help the cause.
Why does print still matter?
Despite this, the industry is recognised as being one of the most accredited and audited to high internationally recognised standards, including ISO 14001, FSC and PEFC.
Print companies recognise the need to go carbon neutral using vegetable-based inks to replace harmful chemicals.
In addition, innovative technologies continue to make printing presses more eco-friendly by reducing chemicals and emissions from the process.
Installing solar panels to generate power, recycling, reusing and supporting the local environment.
In 2018, the European recycling rate for paper was 72%, and the paper industry is aiming for 74%. Paper is recycled on average 3.5 times a year in Europe.
However, paper can only be recycled a few times before the fibres are too short and worn out, so virgin fibre will always be needed.
The European pulp and paper industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe.
60% of European pulp and paper mills’ energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
Worldwide total emissions generated by emails is estimated to be 300 million tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to the annual emissions of 63 million cars.
The next time you give paper and print a condescending stare, show some support.
Doing so means you’re supporting more than 140,000 employees in 10,500 companies who are committed to being greener and who commit to the longevity of print and paper.
Imagine a world without it?