In ULOOP: One Million Trees: Green America's Challenge to Universities

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This article originally appeared in ULoop, on March 22, 2017

Uloop: By Danielle Wirsansky March 22, 2017

 

Formerly Co-op America, the Green America organization has become one of the country’s leaders in establishing a green economy. Since its inception in 1982, its mission has remained to be to “provide economic strategies and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems.” They do so by providing sustainable opportunities to cut down on paper waste and provide alternatives.

As of March 21, they have rolled out their latest project, called “One Million Trees,” in which they encourage the magazines of higher education institutions to adopt greener practices, particularly using recycled paper for their publications, like alumni magazines.

According to a recent press release, Beth Porter, the director of Green America’s Better Paper Project, said the following:

“The impact of losing one million trees a year is just too much for alumni magazines that could look every bit as good using recycled paper. Universities across the country have a chance to greatly influence recycled paper demand by printing their alumni magazines with better paper that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lessens impacts on forests. If you are a college graduate, please consider calling your university’s alumni office to tell them you want your alma mater to switch to recycled paper.”

The impact such a change could make if instituted by universities across the nation is enormous. Statistics show that the tens of millions of alumni magazines waste enough energy to power a small town for an entire year. If universities committed to using 100% recycled paper in their publications, a million trees, enough water to fill 700 Olympic sized pools, and more would be saved each year. By decreasing the use of virgin paper, endangered forests, climate change, and polluted local communities with paper production companies will gain relief.

“Americans are increasingly asking businesses and institutions to take active steps to support the environment,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Green America. “We’ve heard from thousands of college and university graduates who are asking their universities to use recycled paper in their magazines. As university students are increasingly urging their schools to reduce their environmental footprint, switching to recycled papers is a great way for schools to lower their carbon, water, and forest impacts.”

Participating universities can commit to better paper practices and to the One Million Trees campaign by using a minimum of 30 percent recycled papers for their publications and using Forestry Stewardship Council-certified fiber for any new paper materials that might be required