Compared to other materials, paper based goods produced in a sustainable manner are a wise choice because they:
- come from a renewable resource – trees
- capture carbon – through photosynthesis
- are recyclable
Below are answers to some questions from magazine readers regarding sustainability:
1. What words/logos should I look for in my magazine to help me find out if it’s sustainably produced?
Look on the imprint page (the page that lists the names of those who work on the magazine, usually in the first few pages of the magazine) for information about sustainability.
The initials ‘FSC’ or ‘PEFC’ or the words ‘third-party certified’ indicate the wood used to make the paper has been certified as sustainable by an independent third party. That means the trees were purpose-grown, or taken from well-managed forests and other controlled sources. It will also guarantee that the paper didn’t come from old forests or rainforests.
You could also look for the code ‘ISO 14001′. If paper is produced under environmental management system ISO 14001, that means the paper mill follows international environmental best-practice. In other words, it complies with environmental laws and regulations, and works towards targets to decrease its impact on the air, water and land.
Another phrase to look for is ‘elemental chlorine free’ or ‘ECF’ (which means no harmful chlorine compounds were released into the air). Most paper is now ECF.
A magazine may also point out that it is printed using vegetable oil-based inks. This is less toxic and more environmentally friendly than using mineral oil-based inks.
2. What happens to all the leftover magazines that don’t get sold? Do they get recycled?
The magazine industry works very hard to predict its sales accurately, and to not print more magazines than are needed for sale. Magazines that are past their on-sale period are picked up by magazine distributors when the next issue of the magazine is delivered, and collected at a central warehouse. Many of these magazines are then returned to the publisher for use in promotions and for sale as back issues, the remainder being recycled.
3. Can glossy magazines be recycled like other paper?
Yes they can! Here are some great links to find out more about paper and the environment:
• Association of Magazine Media (America)
4. How can I pass my magazines on to others so they are re-used?
To extend the reading life of your magazines you could donate them to local school staff rooms, your local gym, doctors surgeries, dentists, Women’s Refuge, or even libraries if they are in good condition.
And of course, pass your magazines on to your friends and family!
Listing the magazines you’ve read (if you don’t want to keep them of course) on Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org) will ensure they go to a good home where they are read again.
You could even try selling them on Trade Me!
Donate NZ http://donatenz.co.nz/ can help connect your magazines with schools and playcentres who want to use them for crafts.
5. What are the Carbon footprint pros and cons of reading magazines online ?
Measuring total carbon emissions is an extremely complex task, which is as yet inexact.
This link provides some insight into the complexity of the issue, and the good news about the paper industry http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2007/12/are-dead-tree-m.html