Green Pages

The magazine industry is behind the curve on using recycled paper

| November-December 2002


Less than 5 percent of the paper used to print magazines in the United States contains post-consumer recycled fiber. As a result, the magazine industry consumes some 35 million trees each year and pumps billions of tons of particulates and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The Magazine Paper Project, a collaborative effort of Co-op America, the Independent Press Association, and Conservatree, is helping publishers (including Utne) make ecologically sound paper choices, but the vast majority have yet to make the move to recycled paper. Likely candidates to show the way, according to the Magazine Paper Project, are the following:

National Geographic chronicles the worldwide threat to ecosystems in every issue, yet prints its entire magazine (excluding covers, which are 10 percent post-consumer recycled content) on 100 percent virgin paper (505,819 trees each year).

Condé Nast Traveler presents ecotourism and environmentalism awards but contains no post-consumer recycled paper (52,734 trees a year).

The New Yorker, which reports widely on corporate abuses and environmental issues, uses 100 percent virgin paper (105,683 trees a year).

Parenting speaks for the future of our children, yet uses no recycled paper (112,780 trees each year).

The Magazine Paper Project provides a tool on its Web site www.EcoPaperAction.org/wizard to help publishers calculate the environmental costs of their paper choices.

For more information, contact the Independent Press Association at 2729 Mission St. #201, San Francisco, CA 94110; 877/INDYMAG or 415/643-4401; www.indypress.org.



EDITOR'S NOTE:
Until last spring, Utne, too, was using paper that was only 40 percent recycled. We have since made the switch to New Leaf Revival paper, which is 80 percent de-inked recycled fibers and is processed without chlorine- among the highest quality, domestically produced recycled paper available. We encountered no major problems- from readers, advertisers, or printers- except that the paper actually appears to be of higher quality, prompting a few complaints that we've gone slick. The new paper is thinner, which has saved us money in mailing costs. We heartily recommend recycled paper both as good business and good environmental practice.