“Want to Go Paperless?” Just Say ‘No.’
Many businesses are still asking if you would like to skip “paper” billing, statements, and other documents in favor of all-electronic communication. And it carries the implication that you are not being “green” if you decline. That’s simply not true.
Now, you may well be thinking that as the best print management provider around, Superior would say that. But the truth is, the facts say that. The environmental story isn’t as simple as they make it sound, and those bandwagon-jumpers might have chosen the wrong wagon.
The “Rest of the Story”
Legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to always tell us “The Rest of the Story.” There’s much more to the story here, too. And for that full story, check out this article I found recently on the Two Sides North America website. But I would like to share a few important highlights right here.
First of all, that image of paper destroying all those beautiful trees is simply inaccurate.
Trees are a renewable resource, and paper companies manage forests for long-term sustainability.
It’s a bit naïve to think of them as destroyers of trees when their business depends upon them.
And when you consider the importance of recycling and renewable resources to sustainability, don’t overlook these facts:
Paper is recycled more than any other commodity in North America. (More than 2/3 is successfully recovered.)
Most of the energy used to manufacture paper comes from renewable sources
90% of the water used to make it is cleaned and returned to the source
Subtracting Paper ADDS to Environmental Problems
It’s easy to pretend that there is no need for paper with the great influx of smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, tablets, e-readers, and more.
But do you know what brings along a dramatic negative impact on the environment?
Answer: the influx of smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, tablets, e-readers, and more. All those things have added a great deal to our lives. But we must also realize the waste our dependence upon them helps create. Check out these facts:
Small electronic devices like smartphones and tablets need replacing relatively often, and most consumers simply toss the old one at that point. Repairs are difficult or expensive, so the pile of e-waste grows.
Last year’s e-waste would have filled 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary
Only 15% of e-waste in North America is recycled. (Compare that to paper above.)
My point here is not to trash digital technology; it’s an incredibly valuable resource for all of us, including me.
I’m just reminding you that our increasing dependence upon those electronic devices has its own impact on the environment.
To attack paper without considering that is deceptive and can lead to bad decisions.
Let’s Talk Energy Efficiency – a Paper “Power Point”
We’ve already talked about the energy used to make paper. Most comes from carbon-neutral biomass and other renewable sources. But what kind of “footprint” does that digital technology create?
There’s a physical reality behind those lofty “cloud” and seemingly invisible impacts.
The article talks about things like:
the energy expended in manufacturing all those electronic devices
the heavy power consumption required to operate them
It goes on to provide numbers:
North America is projected to have 345 million Internet users and more than 5 billion networked devices by 2023.
Energy consumption required to power digital devices increases by 9% each year
Only 15% of that energy comes from renewable resources. (Again, compare that to paper’s much more favorable stats.)
Print is Renewable, Recyclable, and Responsible
You’ll probably be presented with another offer to “go paperless” from some bank or merchant soon.
I hope we’ve provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision. (You probably now know more than the person asking you the question!)
Superior has been providing not only information but products, services, and technologies that add to business efficiency for nearly 100 years.
If you need more convincing, check out our four consecutive Best of Print and Digital awards, or our ISO certification.
It’s the kind of support every business hopes to find.
Contact Superior or your Superior sales consultant and ask for a FREE print management review.
We’ll show you how to make print a plus for both your business and the environment.