Paper recycling is a major component of our sustainability efforts. We’re proud to have recently been recognized again by Pioneer Industries International for our recycling efforts and the resource savings achieved across our Minnesota and Pennsylvania facilities. According to their calculations, in 2012 our Operations teams recycled 21,131 tons of paper, which translates to a savings of:
- 355,227 trees;
- 147,917,000 gallons of water;
- 1,775,004 gallons of oil;
- 84,524,000 kilowatt hours of electricity;
- 69,732 cubic yards of landfill space.
Several factors have contributed to the success of our recycling program. Our investment in baling equipment, air systems and separators allows for the proper segregation of material. We utilize top quality paper, which is a more desirable product for recycling. The continuity we have with our supplier relationship also plays a role, as we know each other so well we can challenge each other to innovate. Finally, because inventory is one of the 8 forms of waste, much of our Lean Manufacturing efforts focus on improving component inventory level requirements.
Wayne DiCastri of Pioneer Papers (left) presents commemorative plaques to Joe Morrison.
False Beliefs and Resources for Paper Knowledge
While we’re proud of our recycling efforts, we know many misunderstandings still persist about the sustainable features of paper. These beliefs continue despite concerted efforts by printers, paper manufacturers and direct marketers to shed light on the subject. In fact, if you asked a random person if direct marketing is sustainable, there’s a good chance you’ll get a negative response. It doesn’t help that many companies have confused the issue by claiming “going digital” is better for the environment, a claim which the facts don’t support.
We all need to be champions of paper. Luckily there are a lot of great resources that will give you the knowledge you need to share facts on the renewable, recyclable nature of paper.
The American Forestry and Paper Association recently published a report entitled, “Documenting the Value of Paper.” They cite five positive dimensions of paper, with sustainability noted as one of the key dimensions. You might also find the section on “Paper as a Learning Tool” to be extremely interesting. Researchers found students who read textbooks had higher comprehension and test scores than students who read from e-books.
Two Sides is another organization committed to promoting the value of print and paper. They offer a tremendous amount of interesting statistics, case studies and research documents on their website.
Domtar, one of our main paper suppliers, has also put together a great resource called PaperBecause. It focuses on the value of printed communications and the responsible use of paper. You can review their information at www.paperbecause.com.
Finally, we try to do our part to elevate the conversation about paper. We’ve given presentations at industry conferences such as the National Postal Forum and DMA events; contributed articles on ways to make direct mail more sustainable; and written about the sustainable nature of paper and the power of printed communications on our blog.
If you would like to know more about IWCO Direct’s sustainability practices, please let me know. If you want to share other resources with our readers, feel free to add them in the comments section below.
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