Are printed magazines sustainable?
Posted on 8th January 2021
Last year, Forbes found that more than three quarters of people want to learn how to live more sustainably. If you’re concerned about the environment in 2021, have you wondered whether printed magazines are sustainable?
Trees are our friends
We all worry about the decline in our forests, so that’s surely a good reason to reduce the amount of paper we use. A survey in 2019 found that almost two thirds of us think that forests in Europe are shrinking. However, between 1990 and 2015, the area covered by forests and woodlands increased by 90,000 square kilometres; that’s about the size of Portugal.
The most common reasons forests are declining in some parts of the world are large and small-scale agriculture, unsustainable logging, mining, infrastructure projects, and increasingly intense and widespread fires.
The print industry uses certification schemes to make sure that the wood it uses comes from sustainable sources, mostly overseen by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
In Europe the paper recycling rate is 72%, which is almost as high as it can possibly be (78%). That’s because not all paper products can be recovered for recycling such as books or record documents that need to be kept on file, for example.
Much of the recycled paper pulp can be reused several times to make new paper that is used by many magazines.
Controlling the carbon footprint
The paper and printing sector accounted for less than 1% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. While the paper making process uses a lot of water much of it is reused before it is treated and discharged.
If you think about the materials and manufacturing needed for the mobile devices we use to view our digital content, and the parts that can’t be recycled, paper looks like a reasonable alternative.
Pulse is delivered directly to people’s homes by a trusted team; there’s no additional packaging and we have a carefully planned delivery routine to minimise transport requirements.
We know that other printed publications are posted to their readers, requiring packaging and additional transport. However, polywrap is often used, which is lightweight and recyclable. There are also biodegradable starch-based wrappers made from things like corn or potato starch that can be put in your home composting or food waste recycling bin. Although they are heavier, paper wrappers are also a sustainable alternative and, in some cases, addresses can be printed onto magazine covers so that no outer wrapper is needed.
Why printed magazines are important for marketing
Hopefully we have convinced you that paper isn’t as damaging to the environment as it first seems, but you might still think that digital content will use less resources and be more sustainable.
However, seven out of 10 of us still prefer to read printed books and magazines rather than digital alternatives. The trend in 2020 is for print to continue playing an important role alongside brand communities, influencers, and partnership marketing.
Reading printed content typically requires uninterrupted time and attention and readers understand and remember much more, including advertising messages.
The trust and confidence people have in carefully curated and designed magazine content is also reflected in the way readers view their websites as well, providing an advantage over their digital-only alternatives.
So, overall, printed magazines are a sustainable option and are important for your content marketing plans.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more.
Share this post: