Recycled Paper Options: Navigating the World of “Green” Printing

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Published 2/26/13
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This post is part three of a five-part series Miles is publishing every Tuesday, through March 12, 2013, to help make your next print project a green one. To read the complete series, start here: Navigating the World of Green Printing. Paper containing post-consumer waste (PCW) is a popular and widely available option. Usually noted as a percentage, guides printed on PCW paper can even sport a recycled content emblem serving as a reminder to your readers about your efforts to be environmentally conscious. A small drawback is that paper containing PCW usually costs more than non-PCW stocks. One mill, however, has managed to virtually eliminate these traditional up-charges by specializing in the creation of paper made exclusively from recycled content.

FutureMark-PaperFutureMark paper mill, located at the heart of North America’s “print country” in Illinois, creates paper that contains at least 90% PCW. Unlike FRP, FutureMark is not in the business of harvesting trees. This innovative mill sources recycled paper from consumers and neighboring printing facilities, breaks the material down into pulp, and creates fresh rolls of paper ideal for commercial web printing. FutureMark recycles an estimated 600 million pounds of paper annually. This translates into: -4 million fewer trees harvested -Reduced emissions equivalent to eliminating 60,000 cars from the road -Enough energy conserved to power 30,000 American homes -2 trillion fewer gallons of water consumed Even the coatings applied to the paper to give it its fancy satin and gloss finishes come from cornstarch, rather than traditional petroleum-based coating. Although not every part of a magazine can be used as pulp, this mill has successfully found a way to recycle even the otherwise unusable byproduct of this process. The varnishes, inks and UV coatings that are extracted as the material is broken down into pulp would normally end up in a landfill, but FutureMark discovered that this byproduct is an excellent soil nutrient that is now being used by farmers in the Midwest.