sunlight shining through threes in a sustainably managed forest
Awareness of the impact we have on our environment is increasing all the time and as consumers we are now more interested in the choices we make. Many businesses are evaluating new technologies, materials and ideas to reduce their environmental footprint. 
However, if you have ever tried to weigh up the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of your choices from recycled clothing to the use of plastics, you’ll know the answers aren’t simple. We decided to look at some of the issues around paper and marketing. 

Paper recycling 

In Europe 74% of paper was collected and recycled in 2020 – that’s around 56million tonnes. However, paper can’t be recycled indefinitely because the fibres are weakened in the process. Nor can paper be made from 100% recycled fibre as new wood pulp is needed for strength. It won’t ever be possible to recycle all the paper we use due to processing and simple waste. 

Sustainable forest management 

Well-managed sustainable forests provide livelihoods and create ecosystems and biodiversity, but some people are concerned that they aren’t made up of native species
However, several sustainably managed schemes exist; the best known are probably the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both schemes aim to provide certification to confirm that forests meet independently verified standards of responsible management that conserve the natural habitats of plants and animals and respect the rights of workers and local communities. They have a chain of custody that allows wood and wood fibre to be tracked through the supply chain from the forest to the end-user. 

Evolving print marketing 

When you’re considering your marketing options there are some steps you can take to help minimise your impact on the environment. 
Efficiency – there are a range of efficient print production methods that help to reduce paper waste and your costs. You can ask your printers for advice about the best choice for your catalogues, brochures, and flyers. Digital printing is an efficient production method when you only need a small print run of a few hundred, for example. It’s a cost-effective way to test your approach without investing in a high volume print run, so you can minimise waste too. 
Innovation – you can reduce the need for single use plastic for your wrappers if you are sending material through the post. There are cost-effective paper and plant-based alternatives that are either recyclable or biodegradable. You will also have the benefit of a personalised printed wrapper to improve your marketing impact. 
As more items are bought online, packaging is another consideration and the government requires packaging producers to meet recycling and recovery responsibilities. This is driving some clever and more environmentally friendly alternatives that are strong and light. You can benefit by including their recycling credentials in your branding. 
Footprint – some printers offer the option to offset the carbon impact of paper production in the cost of carbon balanced paper. The premium you pay is then invested in World Land Trust schemes which capture carbon and support ecological projects. This can be certificated for use in your company’s environmental reporting and marketing. 
Custody – you can ask your printer to source paper that is FSC certified which has a full chain of custody. This allows you to tell your customers with confidence that the paper you use comes from sustainably managed forests. 

Work with like-minded businesses 

At Pulse magazine, Business Times and Business MK we use FSC certified paper and minimise the impact of distribution thanks to our fantastic hand-delivery team. The copies sent by mail to people who have registered on our mailing list are paper-wrapped for easy recycling. 
We can also help you reduce the environmental impact of your marketing by hand-delivering your leaflets and flyers to homes and businesses across Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire. 
If you would like to know more, please get in touch
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