Is Print Eco-Friendly? The Answer May Surprise You

Is Print Eco-Friendly? The Answer May Surprise You


Paper used for printed materials is a renewable, sustainable resource

If you’re questioning the eco-friendliness of printed marketing materials, you certainly aren’t alone. Print and paper have been used for centuries to share ideas, educate others and promote products and businesses. In the last several years, though, the rise of digital platforms and the “green” movement have led many people to believe that going paperless is the most environmentally-friendly option.

So, does print have a place in an eco-friendly future?

The answer is yes, and for many people, this comes as a bit of a shock.

Digital Isn’t Inherently Better for the Environment than Print

On the surface, digital marketing materials seem more environmentally-friendly than printed materials simply because they are not presented on a natural resource like paper. Dig a little deeper, though, and you will learn that the products and services that replace paper have a harmful impact on the environment.

Consider this: The production of electronic devices, such as cell phones, tablets and computers, requires the use of rare earth elements, or REEs. Extracting REEs requires open pit mining techniques that devastate the environment. In addition to polluting the air, soil and water, REE extraction consumes vast amounts of fossil fuels. These elements are crucial to the functionality of today’s high-tech devices, and since there is no synthetic alternative, REEs are irreplaceable. The average cell phone user obtains a new device roughly every 18 months, and less than 10% of cell phones are recycled in the US. The rest end up in landfills.

Print is Highly Sustainable

While the production of paper has an undeniable environmental cost, it does not require the same kind of devastation as the extraction of rare earth elements, nor does it create so much waste in landfills. The paper your marketing materials are printed on is made from trees, which are natural and renewable, and the US paper industry advocates responsible forestry practices.

Paper is one of the most sustainable products on earth as well as one of the most recycled commodities. It can be recycled up to seven times to create new products, and currently, 65% of recyclable paper is recovered in North America. More than 65% of the energy used to produce paper comes from renewable sources like biomass, and well-managed forests provide a number of environmental, economic and social benefits.

Printed Marketing Material in the Digital Age

If you’re like many business owners and you are considering the environmental impact of your marketing materials, it is important to realize that both digital and printed materials impact the environment in one way or another. When you choose The Print Connection for your Denver printing needs, many of our products can be printed on high-quality recycled materials to reduce your environmental impact. For professional print services in Denver, call The Print Connection at 303-779-1420.

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