By Lisa Bland
Print is not dead, but virgin paper should be.
We’re back, and we are glad to be publishing a summer issue of The Green Gazette. After taking a break because of the economic downturn and COVID’s effect on many businesses (the advertising from which we are 100% funded), producing this issue is a welcome new beginning as the spring blossoms into summer. Many of our favourite writers are back with contributions, and the community support and enthusiasm from new and returning advertisers continues to grow. We genuinely feel we were missed.
Much has happened collectively and individually during the pandemic, and I’m sure you’ll find something in this issue that resonates. Whether dealing with elders in a complicated care situation, struggling with loneliness and isolation, contemplating leaving city life, creating a more sustainable or zero waste footprint, or finding peace and joy in simple pleasures, like access to fresh garden produce and wide open spaces, there’s no doubt the past year has been transformative. It is my hope that we can re-emerge with renewed commitment to what matters in our hearts and collectively forge a greener path into the future.
For the past nine years, the co-ordination of more than 50 issues of The Green Gazette has been an uphill battle, economically speaking. The truth is a profit model bottom line has not been our priority. Creating a collaborative and hope-filled community publication has always been the goal, and the struggle to exist as a green business in a capitalist world is a commitment that sometimes translates to putting values ahead of profit. While there are many levels of ‘greenwashing’ present in our world, falling into cynicism about ‘the way things are’ doesn’t lead to change. Action leads to change.
Since moving to a magazine format in the spring of 2019, The Green Gazette has been printed on 100 percent recycled paper with vegetable-based inks through International Web exPress, a printer based in Coquitlam, BC. While there are printing options that offer up to 50 percent cost savings, such as printing on non-recycled paper, outsourcing outside of BC, or using lower percentages of post consumer fiber, we decided that if we are going to call ourselves a green magazine, we wanted to create a product that meets the highest green standards.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) (fsc.org) certified, 100 percent post-consumer sustainable fiber The Green Gazette is printed on is called Rolland Enviro® Print, or Rolland Enviro® Satin (impacted recently by supply chain issues), when available. Rolland Inc. operates out of St. Gerome, Quebec, and is the only paper mill fuelled mainly by biogas energy from a local landfill and, in combination with its 100 percent post-consumer content and de-inking without chlorine, it is the most environmentally friendly paper manufacturer in North America. By comparison, other papers are generally manufactured using fossil fuels, and the use of virgin papers has a significant impact on biodiversity and, in certain regions, species at risk. Using a tonne of Rolland Enviro® Satin or Enviro® Print saves the equivalent of 24 trees, 1,773 gallons of water, and 3,402 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more at rollandinc.com/sustainability/our-certifications/
Vic Noble is general manager at International Web exPress. He spoke to me about changes in the print industry over the years and the decline in the use of FSC certified paper in the publishing industry.
“Print is not dead,” Noble says. “Paper is still a huge part of our lives and will continue to be.”
He describes the way some businesses and municipalities have tried to go solely online, cancelling their print publications and guides, but soon returning to print.
“People have to be driven to websites,” Noble says. “They don’t automatically go there, so a successful business needs a combination of both.”
In the 90s, everyone was using recycled paper when it was a fad, and today, many people are gung-ho about going green until they find out what it costs.
“International Web exPress used to be an FSC certified printer, but we stopped in 2010,” Noble says. “The cost transferred onto our buyers at 20 percent more for printing but virtually no-one wanted to do it. If enough people demanded it, we would get it and the costs would go down.”
The industry’s challenge is assembling the critical mass required to prompt all the mills to slowly change over. But demand is not there yet. As an affordable compromise, many publishers looking for greener options end up going with cheaper options, such as 30 percent post consumer waste paper.
“The 100 percent recycled paper used for The Green Gazette along with using vegetable rather than oil-based inks is as enviro friendly as it gets,” Noble says. “You wouldn’t want to eat it, but you could—if you’re really hungry. You could throw this paper in the garden and use it to line the bottom of your compost.”
Web exPress may not be FSC certified, but it is as green as it can be. In the company’s 2020 diversion report, the Sustainable Material Management Group of Cascades Recovery certified that International Web exPress achieved a 100 percent diversion rate, with a total of 467 metric tonnes of material recovered, landfilled reduction of 1,831 cubic yards, carbon dioxide emission reduction of 1,974 Te CO2e, and a savings of 13,084,860 litres of water, 1,955 barrels of petroleum, and 7,619 mature trees.
The Green Gazette hopes that in leading by example, we can make a difference. As with many great products, people need to get behind them or they will disappear—and so will our magazine. If we don’t push for greener changes they aren’t going to happen. If we care enough to push collectively and politically, we can make a difference. We’re doing it with plastic; let’s do it with paper.
If you would like more info about how support our work, spread the word, or to donate, contact me at email@example.com.
Have a great summer!