Environment-friendly statement? (Recycled paper)

Subject: Environment-friendly statement? (Recycled paper)
From: Geoff Hart <Geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 11:19:25 -0400

Martha Darda <<...wants me to put an environment friendly
statement in the front matter of our user's guide, right after the
copyright information... "Printed in the United States of
America on recycled paper made with 30 percent post-
consumer waste.">>

Looks fine to me, and congratulations on using recycled
paper; I wish more people did. The only real quibble I have
with the statement is the use of the word "waste", which has
unpleasant connotations; for this reason, I've usually seen
"fiber" instead. The choice between "recycled" alone and
"contains post-consumer waste" makes an important
distinction: not long ago, most recycled paper was actually
made from trimmings at the papermaking machine or at the
press (i.e., it may never have left the factory or been printed
on). I prefer paper with a high content of post-consumer fiber,
since it means that the paper has actually been used and
recovered, which is the real goal of recycling.

I do have one warning, though: confirm this statement with
your printer at fairly regular intervals (e.g., whenever you
reprint); paper grades change frequently, and unless someone
is monitoring the situation (i.e., including paper specifications
in the printing contract), the printer may substitute a
comparable, nonrecycled paper without warning you. That
could prove embarrassing if someone notices you're actually
using paper made from virgin fiber (and some designers will
definitely notice). That paints you as deliberately deceptive
and untrustworthy, even if that's not the case.

<<I looked on my bookshelf and none of my books have
anything similar.>>

That's because, despite years of education by the
papermaking industry, many consumers and some print
designers still see recycled paper as synonymous with
"contains lots of icky flecks", and a few printers still see it as
"doesn't 'work' properly on the press". Neither opinion has
been wholly correct for some time now, though you can still
find flecky paper that holds type well if you want to send a
strong visual message to support the textual message.

A final note: Though I've been accused, with some justice, of
being a forest industry apologist (they do pay my wage), I'm
also an "out" environmentalist. That being the case, I direct
you to the magazine _Publish_ (www.publish.com), which
occasionally lists varieties of paper made from sources other
than trees. Have a look!

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?"--Anon. (possibly Richard Lederer
)

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