Thursday, April 24, 2008

Choosing Your “Green” Paper

Now that the annual green blitz from Earth Day has subsided, it’s time to get to work on the other 364 days Earth Days (actually 365 this year).

Since I’m a paper guy, let’s take a look at selecting an environmentally responsible paper. I’ve been at this a long time, and have learned that there is no single solution. All paper production, all paper use, has an impact on the environment. And despite protestations to the contrary from proponents of various options, there is no “best” paper. Yes, some are better than others, but attempts to quantify environmental impact through any form of lifecycle analysis fall far short of definitive.

I prefer a more personal approach by making a personal statement on every piece of paper we use. Now I know that’s not completely practical because I’m not going to write on that sticky note in front of me:

“I have no idea what this paper's made of or how it’s made and I could care less”

But that’s what I’m saying to myself and everyone else by using this paper that I know nothing about.

Let the medium be the message. Take the example of letterhead and business cards, two papers that project your personal and professional image. Think about what you would print at the bottom:

"I have no idea what this paper's made of or how it’s made and I could care less”

"Proudly printed on 100% cotton tree-free paper"

"Proudly printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper"

These few words printed on your most visible papers speak volumes about you and your business. You’ve done your homework. You’ve decided what’s important to you. You’ve decided to incorporate and communicate a message of environmental responsibility. And you’re proud to do so.

Take a look at your personal and professional papers.

What’s the message?

No comments: