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The effect of your purchasing decision on the environment is an important consideration for the paper and printing industry. Many Guild members have attended seminars on the subject and invested a considerable amount of time trying to increase their “green” knowledge base. While opinions among the Guild membership vary, most believe that there are many day-to-day decisions you can make in your everyday life that will be “less harmful” to the environment. Nevertheless, claims that one is “saving the rain forest” by not using paper or that SUV’s are “vegetarian” because they use 85% ethanol are some of the more blatant examples of contemptuous attempts by businesses to deceive the consumer.

Store owners are often asked for products made from recycled papers. When asked, we often steer our customers to cotton paper which has been a “green” alternative for over 300 years. Papers made from cotton are clear examples of recycled paper made from paper scraps at the mill, cotton “rag” scraps from textile mills and harvested cotton, a sustainable crop. Also, most serious paper manufacturers who use wood fiber, do so from low-impact sources such as FSC-certified forests. While recycled paper and entirely new papers from bamboo and other renewable resources are now beginning to emerge, the environmental cost of processing many of these papers (energy and chemical treatments) often offset the environmental benefits. Unrelated to the product is the large carbon-footprint left behind by transporting these products to the consumer.

Recognizing that there is no “quick-fix” or perfect solution to this complex issue, most Guild members are taking steps internally to reduce our carbon-footprint. Specifically, most recycle all packaging materials, purchase labels and packaging materials made from recycled papers and are replacing all cleaning materials with environmentally-responsible products. Furthermore, Guild member stores will promote products from vendors who share our conviction that we all can make the world a better place.

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