It's all the rage for magazines to splash green advice across their glossy pages, but most don't even print on recycled paper. Compared to paper produced from virgin sources, the recycled variety uses less water and energy, emits fewer greenhouse gases, and preserves carbon-dioxide-absorbing trees. Yet, shockingly, less than one percent of the approximately 17,000 magazines published in the United States contain any recycled paper, according to the Better Paper Project, a nonprofit that works with the
magazine industry to promote recycled paper. For magazines alone, 39 million trees are logged a year-that's more than one every second. "The single best thing that a magazine can do to reduce its impact on the environment is to use recycled paper," says Frank Locantore, director of the Better Paper Project.
Beginning with this issue, Audubon
's body stock is changing from 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper to 90 percent post-consumer recycled paper made by Leipa, one of the only companies that offers that level for magazines. This puts Audubon in elite company with a handful of other glossy mass-circulated publications. The switch slashes our total CO2 emissions from printing by 608 metric tons annually, or 7 percent of National Audubon's yearly total. The change saves Audubon
$18,000 a year to boot. If more domestic papermakers retooled to make the switch, the economies of scale could push the price of the recycled paper even lower. In that case, one day recycled content could be run of the mill. --Susan Cosier
Number of publications circulating in the U.S.: 17,000.
Number of publications circulating in the U.S. that use any
post-consumer recycled material: Fewer than 200.
Producing a typical magazine in the U.S. takes the equivalent of about
takes the equivalent of about 217 trees.
Producing a typical magazine in the U.S. takes the amount of energy
needed to power 49 homes for a year.
takes the amount of energy needed to power 36
homes for a year.
Producing a typical magazine in the U.S. creates carbon emissions
equivalent to what about 78 cars would emit in a year.
creates carbon emissions equivalent to what
about 44 cars would emit in a year.
Producing a typical magazine in the U.S. takes about three swimming
pools, or 41,291 bathtubs of water.
takes about two swimming pools, or 28,309
bathtubs of water.
The above "Infographic" was featured in the Sept.-Oct. '09 issue of Audubon magazine.