Beyond the Recycling Bin
Enabling Smart Buying Habits
To best utilize paper lifecycle data — and to make the wisest choices in paper — catalogers need a system for managing environmental data, UPM-Kymmene’s Riebel proffers. “Have an environmental report card that you ask your suppliers to fill out annually. The report card should cover the total environmental impact, from forestry all the way through to the finished roll of paper. It should require detailed information about emissions, water use, type of forest certification and so on,” he advises.
With the guidance of Portland, Ore.-based Metafore’s Paper Working Group, 19 big-name companies are helping with the development of what’s known as the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT), which the group describes as “a secure, Web-based database designed to help paper buyers compare paper suppliers’ environmental performance.” With approved access to the system, participating buyers will be able to compare measurements, such as the levels of pre- and post-consumer recycled content, energy use, water use and levels of emissions created in the production of a company’s paper.
Early adopters comprise a mix of publishers, printers and direct marketers, including J.C. Penney, L.L. Bean, Office Depot, Quad/Graphics, FedEx, Target, Nike, Norm Thompson Outfitters, Recreational Equipment Inc. and The Hearst Corp. Representatives from these organizations are working alongside the Paper Working Group to test and fine-tune the tool, which the group says will go live by year’s end. Access to the electronic solution will enable users to compare suppliers’ standings for:
- levels of pre- and post-consumer recycled content;
- energy use;
- water use; and
- levels of emissions during paper production.
Chris Grond, Quad/Graphics’ director of paper purchasing, says the tool will help printers and print buyers see the environmental big picture. “There are some organizations that believe it’s all about recycled content. Others believe it’s about using paper suppliers that have achieved certain certifications,” Grond notes.