While several forest certification programs now exist, the FSC is the only one the NRDC considers credible. “Making a commitment to test and use sustainable forestry-certified paper may be applicable at first to only a small portion of a business’ total paper buy, but it begins the dialogue with paper brokers, printers, manufacturers or other paper sources to see what’s available and affordable in the grades necessary,” explains Brophy.
While some parts of the mail package require virgin offset sheets for high-end printing, many elements — such as lift notes, flyers, brochures and even letters — can be moved to a so-called high-yield “groundwood” sheet, which doesn’t have a long shelf life but consumes far fewer resources to manufacture than offset paper, according to Brophy.
Will such purchasing changes drive up the end cost? Not necessarily. “Generally speaking, I’ve found that using less, costs less,” she says. For example, by using lighter basis weights, such as moving from a 60 lb paper to a 45 lb paper, you’re lessening the cost and weight. Using fewer pages and reducing the trim size for certain mailings, like magalogs, also can help.
3. Green other parts of the package
Of course, the mail piece isn’t only composed of paper. Inks, polybags and adhesives also are included, and today more environment-friendly alternatives exist. Nonpetroleum inks, such as soy-based and vegetable oil-based inks, are much more commonly used and don’t emit the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute so heavily to air pollution. Biodegradable polybags also are available. Meanwhile, more “benign” adhesives that are less toxic and don’t gum up inking facilities are coming on the market.
This article appears in the January 2008 issue of insidedirectmail. For more, go to www.insidedirectmail.com
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- San Francisco