Printing is bad for the environment. We must use less paper. Save the trees, save the world. That’s what everyone says, isn’t it?
Well, it’s time to bust a myth about the printing industry: it’s much, much greener than you think.
We’re under constant pressure to go paperless because we’re led to believe that it’s good for the environment. Environmental protection advocates bombard us with alarming statistics about paper consumption, such as…
Ah, but the paperless pushers only ever give us half the story and, by doing so, present a wildly inaccurate picture of what’s really going on.
The US does indeed cut down 68 million trees a year to make paper. But what the advocates of the paperless agenda fail to tell you is that the wood and paper products industries plant 1.7 million trees a day. That means they’re planting 620.5 million trees each year — way, way more than they’re cutting.
And even though paper consumption in North America has increased, there are nearly 750 million acres of forest in the US alone, which is about the same as there were 100 years ago. We may be losing 18 million acres of forest worldwide, but that’s not down to the paper industry. The vast majority of tropical deforestation is caused by cattle ranching, large-scale soybean farming, and oil palm plantations.
The paper and printing industries are actually among the biggest causes of reforestation. Along with the aforementioned 1.7 million US-planted trees, Canada adds another 600 million seedlings each year. And according to the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), the managed European forests that provide 80% of the paper used by UK printers are growing by 1,500 football pitches every day.
Contrary to what the paperless pushers say, printing is one of the most sustainable industries there is. Apart from the fact that trees are a completely renewable energy source, there is a trend towards sustainability in the production of paper, too. The industry has made an impressive commitment to reducing clearcutting, water use, fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaning up its impact on air pollution and local water supplies.
Edward L. Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, says, “When people use more paper, suppliers plant more trees. If we want bigger commercial forests, then we should use more paper, not less. Our policies should directly protect important wildlife habitats, not try to reduce our demand for paper.”
A 2017 international survey by Two Sides revealed that 72% of consumers prefer reading printed books and magazines. Similarly, a 2016 survey by Epson revealed that 64% of employees across Europe would rather read reports and ad brochures on printed paper. Epson’s survey also revealed that 83% thought that a paperless office was unrealistic, while 86% thought a ban on printing in the workplace would limit productivity.
So print isn’t going anywhere. People still want it — consumers and businesses alike. That’s good, because the continued use of paper and printing is actually having a very positive environmental impact.
As a managed print services business, cutting out paper from your own processes is still a good step forwards. But it’s nothing to do with the environment, sustainability, or your carbon footprint. It’s a step towards greater efficiency and profitability — pure and simple. Digitising your workflow with service management software enables:
Evatic is an intelligent, end-to-end service management solution specially designed for MPS providers. It will automate and optimise every stage of your operation so that you can provide a more proactive, more effective, and more profitable service to your customers. To find out more, send us at email at email@example.com.