Production Ways to Go Green
A lower basis weight paper also can lighten up your impact on the environment. If, for example, you switch from an 80 lb cover stock to a 70 lb alternative, you will get the same amount of surface area, but will cut back on the amount of fiber used to make your paper.
Another avenue is to opt for sheets produced using mechanical—rather than chemical—pulping, which yields more than double the amount of paper per ton of trees but has the same look, feel and opacity as sheets made using traditional pulping methods. Brophy points to a test she conducted this past March in which she mailed a letter printed on Abitibi Consolidated's Equal Offset 42.5 lb sheet—which is produced using mechanical pulping—against a letter printed on a 50 lb virgin offset sheet. Although full results of the test are not yet available, the printed samples have her very optimistic about response.
Design for Recyclability
While recycling is not the end all be all of an environmental program, it's still an integral part; one that you can promote by printing on postconsumer-content paper and designing campaigns that can be recycled. Some things you can do to improve the recyclability of your printed pieces include:
1. Eliminate adhesives. Because most adhesives aren't water soluble, they can't be removed by recycling equipment. The adhesive that remains in the pulp then clogs paper machines and printing presses. Some alternatives include using meters and indicias instead of stamps; printing directly on outer envelopes instead of using address labels; and avoiding stickers, peel-offs and other such involvement devices. But stay tuned. Currently, the adhesives industry is developing recyclable, or benign, adhesives.
2. Use glassine windows or window-less outer envelopes rather than the commonly used, but not easily recycled, polystyrene windows. Another alternative is to print addresses directly on closed-face outers.