Green America Calls on Universities to Make a "Better Paper Commitment"

This article originally appeared in American Recycler, on June 19, 2017

In its newest push to encourage the magazine industry to use recycled paper, the nonprofit Green America’s Better Paper Project launched “One Million Trees” to encourage higher education institutions to publish alumni magazines on recycled paper.

One million trees a year could be saved if colleges and universities took this common-sense step for the environment.

According to the U.S. Census, there are almost 67 million people with higher education degrees across the country, with over three million new graduates joining alumni associations every year. These alumni receive up to four magazines throughout the year from their alma maters. These tens of millions of alumni magazines add up to significant environmental impacts, such as wasting enough energy to power a small town for an entire year.

“Printing on recycled paper is a great way to achieve multiple environmental benefits all at the same time,” said Susan Kinsella, executive director of Conservatree, a nonprofit environmental organization that researches and strategizes paper production impacts. “Not only does recycled paper save trees and reduce greenhouse gases, but it also reduces the demand for water and energy, diminishes the production of solid waste, and quickly minimizes the paper production footprint on the environment. In fact, a recent life cycle analysis found that 100 percent recycled paper had considerably lower impact levels for over 140 environmental impact categories. And it’s top quality paper, as well.”

Green America is asking universities to participate in the One Million Trees campaign by making the Better Paper Commitment. By taking this step, universities would commit to starting with a minimum of 30 percent recycled content for alumni magazines and publications, as well as using Forestry Stewardship Council-certified fiber for any virgin content in the paper.

More on the goals of the campaign can be found at