Tips and Resources Blog

Thoughts About Print

The printed word on paper, enhanced with effective images, has enormous power to communicate ideas to targeted audiences. Unfortunately, a serious challenge to print has emerged, stemming from popular misconceptions about the impact of print on the environment.

Choose Print is an educational campaign designed to promote the value and power of print communications and reinforce the fact that print is a recyclable, renewable and sustainable environmental choice.

The idea that print is detrimental to the environment is factually wrong. One-third of the wood pulp used to produce paper comes from the wastes from sawmills; much of the rest comes from “tree farms” that grow trees as a crop specifically meant to produce paper (not from old growth trees cut from endangered forests!). The demand for paper actually provides incentive for landowners to plant trees rather than convert their acreage to other uses. Plus, after paper is used, it is one of the most recyclable products available. When it is not recycled, paper is both biodegradable and non-toxic.

Many studies show that the best marketing campaigns use both print and the internet to reach their audiences. This concept is validated in the market every time a marketer uses a printed catalog or direct mail piece to drive buyers to their website to get the order, a process which is now often enriched by the use of PURLs (personalized URLs) and QRs (Quick Responses).

The constantly repeated mantra, “don’t print, save a tree,” has the potential of undermining a vital channel of commercial communication, weakening our economy and directly threatening the jobs of hundreds of thousands of workers employed in the print production and distribution industry.

There is ample data to support the sustainability and marketing power of print, much of which will be published in future articles.