We hear a lot these days about the circular economy, the idea that basically what goes around as goods and resources comes around as raw materials. The circular economy concept is about using waste as a new raw material or as a component in raw materials, like turning waste paper into pulp for new papers or adding reprocessed plastic pellets to concrete. The circular economy get dressed up in some very complicated language, but that’s the basic gist of it.
Newspaper publishers should be doing much more to counter the perception that print is bad for the environment. Consumers associate printed newspapers with waste, but correcting this impression doesn’t seem to be a priority for the newspaper industry. This has to change, even though publishers may have other things on their minds like the precipitous decline in print sales.
The more we learn about environmental accountability, the more we realise that this is a massively complex topic. Everywhere we see clever ideas for improving the sustainability of the graphics industry, yet equally we see evidence of how far we have yet to go. How we progress as an industry, depends on how well we encourage companies to appreciate their environmental aspects, those things in the business likely to have an environmental impact. Only then can business owners and their customers start considering ways to make improvements. And this brings us to an interesting point: how does one quantify environmental aspects and impacts?
Paper is one of the world’s most readily recycled materials. It is based on a renewable resource that aids in the expansion of our planet’s lung capacity. Paper may be our most pervasive substrate, but it is not the only material used in printing and publishing applications. In packaging and in the sign and display sectors, plastic is extremely popular.
We’re gearing up for the next round of ISO meetings, including a couple of days devoted to environmental standards. We’re expecting a packed house, with participants from all over the world, so no pressure.