WASHINGTON, DC – March 21, 2017– In its newest push to encourage the magazine industry to embrace the use of recycled paper, the nonprofit Green America’s Better Paper Project launched “One Million Trees” today to encourage higher education institutions to publish alumni magazines on recycled paper in order to save trees and reduce landfill waste. 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. However, if all colleges used 100 percent recycled paper for their alumni publications, this could have annual savings up to:
- 1,000,000 trees. That’s two trees still standing every minute of every year.
- 90,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, and recycled paper production produces much less than new paper.
- Enough water to fill over 700 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Over 16,000 tons of solid waste from new paper production. Pollution from paper production pollutes rivers and streams, killing wildlife and impairing recreational areas.
“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,” said Beth Porter, director of Green America’s Better Paper Project. “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.”
“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% 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% 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 here: http://betterpaper.org/onemilliontrees.
“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.”
Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 3.2.1. For more information, visit www.papercalculator.org.
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