Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Recycled Paper Printing
Boston, MA

If you think we’re trashing our planet now, you should have seen it in 1983.  Solid waste produced by US consumers was growing.  But nearly two-thirds of the municipal landfills in the country were closing.  We were running out of space to put our trash.  Are you old enough to remember the MOBRO barge roaming up and down the coast of North and South America looking for a place to dump its waste? 

Recycled Paper Printing’s founder, Todd Truesdale, was a rainforest biologist in Borneo, Indonesia.  He observed widespread forest clear-cutting outside his research camp – the beginnings of what would be an island-wide clearing of rainforests for palm oil plantations. 

Realizing that a vital component of the “3 Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle” was creating a market for products made from recycled waste, Todd opted out of grad school plans and founded a company that helped create the market demand for papers made from recycled waste paper.  Thus was born the world’s first sustainability-oriented printer. 

Before we came along, there were just a few mills making recycled papers in this country.  When we asked them to make papers for us, they said, “Sure.  As long as you don’t tell anyone we make recycled papers.” You see, back then recycled papers were considered low quality.  Decades before, some mills had made dark, speckled, rough-surfaced papers that didn’t print very well.  They thought that that was what people wanted – sort of like health food stores originally thinking that if you couldn’t drive a nail with a loaf of bread, it wasn’t truly organic.

But deinking and papermaking technology had dramatically changed since then.  All that was needed was a little spark. That’s where we came in.  Not taking, “Sorry.  Nobody wants recycled papers any more” for an answer, we convinced the mills that there was a market for these papers.  And, we proved it. 

We started knocking on the doors of all the usual suspects – environmental organizations, schools and politicians.  We nudged, argued and proselytized.  We showed them that if you were going to talk the talk about caring for this planet, then you had to walk the walk and buy printing with an active conscience.  How can you ask people to protect open space, preserve the rainforests, raise our children to be good citizens, or protect our society when you are helping to destroy it all by buying virgin papers which damage our environment?  Over the years, we quickly converted hundreds of organizations to printing only on recycled papers. 

But we knew that in order to make a real difference, we had to go beyond the faithful.  We had to persuade more people to consider buying recycled papers. Using our expertise in recycled papers, we helped nearly a dozen states write procurement guidelines that made it possible for state, local, and municipal agencies to buy recycled papers and materials printed on recycled papers.  We went to countless trade shows and association meetings and convinced corporations that their customers wanted them to behave as responsible corporate citizens.

Recycled Paper Printing® was a leading pioneer in creating the market for recycled papers.  We helped create the market demand to use the growing supply of recycled waste collected from an increasingly conscious society.  Now, 32 years later, we are experts in printing on recycled papers – utilizing vegetable-based inks, electricity credits from wind-energy and good old common sense to minimize waste during planning and production. 

We would be grateful to receive your vote to help us to continue to spread the practice of sustainability-oriented printing.