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You’re Being Fooled by the “Go Green, Go Paperless” Movement

I recently received an e-mail that says, “Think before you print this e-mail, save paper.” Many marketers use this tactic in order to cut their costs, not with the intention to complete any philanthropic crusade. It is a common misconception that when you use paper you are wasting trees. Believe me, I have been tempted to press that paperless button to save my conscience, but the fact is that if paper farms are harvested responsibly, trees can be a renewable resource.  Broad claims like green or eco-friendly are difficult to substantiate, if not impossible (U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 2013), and in turn hurts the print and paper industry and the jobs they provide. But most importantly, this marketing ploy fools people into believing that when you use paper or paper products you are contributing to an environmental downfall.

So before you start to question whether you should hand out those brochures or keep them online, here are somethings you may not know that could make you change your mind:

Paper is the most recycled commodity with over 65 percent of paper product recycled in North America.

We’ve grown twice as many trees as we’ve harvested each year, which has increased the forest size by 50 percent within the last six decades.

With only 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the pulp, paper, and print industry is the lowest industrial emitter.

Marketing claims to “go paperless, go green” are detrimental to our economy and threaten millions of jobs.  


In addition, millions of Americans learn better from paper and rely on it for better record keeping. During a study by the Paper and Packaging Board in 2015, they found that 92 percent of students learn better and retain more information reading from paper than reading digitally.  

Digital is not as renewable as you may think. When choosing either in order to reduce your environmental impact, just know that the internet is a larger greenhouse gas emitter with over 2000 tons dispelled into the atmosphere each day. So it might be better just to print the e-mail and turn the computer off!

Enough of the negative though, we all know the internet is awesome and so is paper, and people are starting to look through the clutter.

The upside to this calamity is that Americans are starting to realize and value the use of paper in their lives, the (lack of) negative effects the paper industry has on the environment, and appreciate the upsides to the industry. A large majority (88 percent of Americans) accept that trees are a renewable resource! It is exciting to hear that most people are at least catching on with the dishonesty. Activist groups like Two Sides have lobbied to make such claims punishable and dispel them from public knowledge altogether. Last year they made headway by correcting over 30 Fortune 500 companies from making false claims about paper statements or the paper industry.

For example, Verizon Wireless makes claims that going paperless is good for the environment, even throwing in a tree and “go green” in order to persuade their customers into saving them money. As we know now, these sweeping generalizations are false.

As a local, family-owned printer we make it a point to recycle all of our paper, buy from local sources and use energy efficient technology in order to reduce our impact.  Learn more about how we make every effort to contribute to the longevity of our environment. 

More About AJ Printing & Graphics and Wine Country Signs 

 AJ Printing & Graphics and Wine Country Signs is a commercial printer in Santa Rosa, California specializing in all things signs and printing. We put our relationships with our clients over everything in order to ensure their success. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, you can leave the printing to us and focus on other things. We are a green business, recycling all of our paper and buying from trusted businesses that commit to the sustainability of our planet. We are your partner in print, design, signs and marketing located at 1315 North Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, CA (707) 525-8600!