I read in the HOW Design blog this morning that Unpackaged has redesigned their space, which is lovely, and you can see it here. I was more taken, however, by their website and it’s clean, black and white graphics. I especially like the icons at the top of the page. I’m still waiting for someone to open one of these in the Roaring Fork Valley, by the way!
Archive for the ‘green design’ Category
but here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to design in a more sustainable manner:
- Are you reducing the overall amount of paper you need, and choosing the lightest- weight materials?
- Are you reusing your existing and returned material?
- Does the material have the lowest possible carbon footprint?
- Is the material easily reused by the consumer?
- Is the material made from recycled content with the highest available level of post- consumer material?
- Is the material recyclable?
- If the material gets thrown away can it be landfilled safely?
- Will it take up the smallest amount of space available?
Thanks to DMZine for posting first.
I was meeting with a client yesterday, and I encouraged her to print her new brochure on recycled paper. I mentioned that it will be a bit more costly than using virgin paper, but we’re encouraging all of our clients to take this step in an effort towards sustainability, and we feel it’s worth it. My client said that she was fine with that, but she asked if we could put a note on the back of the piece that says it’s printed on recycled paper. “Of course,” I said. Apparently, however, not everyone feels that this is ok.
To me, it’s a no brainer. More and more of my purchasing decisions are based on how manufacturers are producing their goods and packaging. If I’m buying a box of cous cous, and I have two brands from which to choose, I’ll buy the one that’s printing their packaging on recycled paper board. If I’m buying a plastic tub, I’ll buy the one that’s made of recycled plastic. And I’d hire the interior designer who is, all other things (skill, talent, taste, etc) being equal, environmentally conscious and aware of the affect our actions and purchases have on our environment. Knowing if she’s printed her brochure on recycled paper would say that to me and would impact my decision.
What do you think? If you’re using recycled paper for your marketing materials, should you note that on each piece?
There’s a lot of new information coming out that counters the public notion that e-materials are greener than printed materials. Print Grows Trees presents the argument that using paper is actually better for the environment, because higher demand for paper means higher demand for trees, which means tree farmers continue to grow trees instead of selling their land for development. It’s also nicely designed. Bonus!
You can learn more about at Print Grows Trees | Spread the Word.
Here are some additional stats from a recent NAPL Business Review article (and other sources) about paper companies and the electronics industry:
- Paper companies plant more trees than they cut down.
- They use manufacturing processes that get the most from every tree they use.
- More than 60% of the energy used to make paper in the US comes from carbon-neutral renewable resources and is produced on-site at paper mills (less than 10% of US power comes from renewable resources).
- The electronics industry uses more than 90% greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels purchased off the grid.
- In 2009, 63,4% of paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling.
- Electronics are the fastest growing waste stream in the world, and only 18% of US electronic devices are currently recycled.
- And according to the Ecology Global Network, 38% of the world’s total fiber supply now comes from recycled paper
- In 2006, the data servers that power the Internet purchased more than twice the energy than the US pulp and paper industry.
- The production of computers and other electronic devices requires the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals, as well as the extensive use of plastics and hydrocarbon solvents.
- 70% of toxic waste in US landfills comes from e-waste.
- Burning a CD produces 4 times as much CO2 as printing a single annual report.
- Spam emails sent annually have the footprint of driving a car around the globe 1.6 million times.
As designers who want to make a positive impact on the world, we try to do what we can to make our print projects as “green” as possible. But what is the “greenest” way to print? With all of the acronyms like PCS, FSC, and CFP, along with some paper company green washing, it’s not always clear. To help clarify, I’ve done some research into the matter, and here is what I discovered.
In order of environmental friendliness, best to least, the following is a list of paper options:
1. PCW [Post Consumer Waste] recycled paper – 100% is best, but anything is still better than nothing.
Although manufacturing recycled paper produces it’s own waste and by-products, because it needs much less bleaching than virgin papers, it reduces the use of toxic chemicals and other potential hazards and doesn’t release them as landfilling and incineration do. Using recycled paper also incorporates full-cycle production costs, unlike virgin paper which includes no responsibility for its eventual disposal costs.
Following are some interesting stats that I came across that explain why recycled paper is at the top of the list.
Creating one ton of recycled paper uses 64% less energy, 50% less water, creates 74% lepss air pollution, saves 17 trees and creates 5 times more jobs than creating one ton of virgin paper products; 42% of the industrial wood harvested globally is devoted to paper production; and, one third of our landfills is taken up by paper, which in turn produces large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.
2. PCF – chlorine and or bleach-free paper
I was surprised to see bleach/chlorine free (PCF) paper second on the list, but taking these toxic chemicals out of the virgin paper process prevents a lot of environmental degradation, and in the overall picture the damage not done outweighs the benefits of alternative/tree-free and tree-farmed sources.
3. Paper made from alternative sources such as fiber or tree-free
Obviously, alternative sources/tree-free papers are good because they save trees, but the way they are produced is not as green as the process used to created recycled paper.
4. FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] certified paper with some recycled content.
Interestingly enough, even though FSC certified paper is being pushed as the latest and greatest “green” solution by the paper companies, it is not very high on the list. The reason? While it is better than virgin paper because it uses tree-farmed trees, it still has to go through the same processes as virgin paper, using valuable resources and creating more paper for the landfills. The FSC papers that use some recycled content are better but, as you can see, they are still not as good as other options.
5. FSC certified paper
6. Virgin paper
To sum it up, PCW recycled paper is your best bet if you’re trying to green up your print projects. And while it’s true that when first introduced these papers were expensive and of mediocre quality, prices have come down and quality has gone way up. Take a look at Classic Crest 100% recycled white and see for yourself — it’s a beautiful sheet and takes color well. If you want to use a colored or textured sheet, try using recycled paper and then creating textures and colors on it with images and ink.
The bottom line is that consumer demand drives pretty much everything in this country, and the more we demand recycled papers (among other products), the better the product selection/price becomes. Right now, only 10% of the paper currently used in the US is made from PCW! If we all start using recyled papers right now, this number will surely go up!