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Guest Blog: The Greenery of Print Media: Correcting Misconceptions of the Eco-Friendly E-Media


As technology continues to evolve, the means to communicate are exponentially growing. What medium will you use? While there are many factors to consider in answering that question, one factor has been clouded by many misconceptions: the eco-friendliness (or lack thereof) of a particular medium. So which medium is better for the earth, print or electronic?

Misconception #1: Forests are being wiped off the face of the planet due to our need for paper!

printgrows trees largeformatreviewdotcom

Paper does come from trees, which are a renewable resource. Like other crops, trees are cultivated and harvested from well-managed farms and forests. In fact, due to such excellent management of this crop, there are 20% more trees in the United States today than there were in 1970, when the first Earth Day was held! By maintaining these paper-producing forests, the landowners ensure that the forests are not destroyed for other non-forest uses, such as development. These farmers protect their forests from more than commercial threats. They also fend off destructive disease, fire, and other natural threats to the forests.

Conclusion: Paper production actually protects our forests.

Misconception #2: Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print.

Consider the following numbers: In 2008 Americans generated 3.16 million tons of electronic waste. Imagine how that number has increased in the last 5 years! Electronic devices consist largely of minerals, metals, and plastics that are non-renewable resources. As to recycling electronic waste, 50-80% of such waste is shipped overseas (consuming more non-renewable resources) where it is often dismantled unsafely. Finally, the adverse health effects of producing an e-reader are 70 times worse than those of producing a book.


Conclusion: When you consider the resources and energy needed to create, use, and dispose of electronic devices, print media is the greener medium.

We need not choose between print and electronic media. Each offers its own advantages, and as we clear away the misconceptions and accurately consider the benefits of both, including the green power of paper and the efficiency of electronics, we can strike the best environmental balance.




Mike Thomas of Thomas Graphics


818.252.5737 • 661.263.1095



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