“Practice What You Print” Campaign Urges Smithsonian Magazine to Begin Using Recycled Paper

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Smithsonian Produces 19 Million Magazines Annually; Green America Calls On Environmentally-Minded Publication to Spare Nearly 20,000 Trees a Year.

WASHINGTON, DC – April 5, 2016 – In its latest campaign to move the magazine industry to recycled paper, the nonprofit Green America today launched “Practice What You Print, Smithsonian” to encourage Smithsonian Magazine to move to recycled-content paper in order to save trees and reduce landfill waste.

This builds on the organization’s 2014 success in a previous campaign, which persuaded National Geographic to begin printing on recycled-content paper. Consumers interested in encouraging Smithsonian to follow National Geographic’s lead and switch to recycled paper can sign the “Practice What You Print” petition:http://greenam.org/1XcptSZ

Green America is urging a transition to better paper, starting with 30 percent recycled-content paper by 2017. For the remainder of its fiber needs, Smithsonian is being asked to use only virgin paper fiber from sustainably-managed Forest Stewardship Council certified forests. More on the goals of the campaign can be found here: http://www.greenamerica.org/Smithsonian-Practice-What-You-Print/about.cfm.

“Americans expect Smithsonian to be an environmental leader, and they are surprised to learn that a major educational institution is a laggard when it comes to using recycled paper,” said Beth Porter, director of Green America’s Better Paper Project. “With a switch to readily available 30 percent recycled-content paper, Smithsonian could prevent two million pounds of greenhouse gas pollution every year by driving less virgin-fiber paper production and keeping recyclable paper out of landfills.”

Smithsonian requires almost 65,000 trees for its 19 million magazine copies every year. By incorporating just 30% of recycled paper into its production, Smithsonian would:

  • Lower its annual wood use by the equivalent of more than 19,000 trees.
  • Reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by two million pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
  • Lower its annual water consumption by about 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • Keep 354 tons of solid waste from going to the landfill each year, reducing methane emissions. (When paper ends up in a landfill the decomposition of that paper produces methane, which has over 20 times the heat trapping power of carbon dioxide, according to the EPA.)

Additionally, a transition at Smithsonian Magazine to recycled paper would initiate the conversation within Time, Inc, to move more of its publications to recycled paper. Smithsonian Magazine acquires its paper through a partnership with Time, Inc. Time publishes 90 magazines, producing hundreds of millions of copies every month, all using virgin fiber paper.

“The Smithsonian Institution has made symbolic commitments to sustainability, but when it comes to producing its magazines, the organization is falling short.” said Elizabeth Jardim, director of consumer advocacy at Green America. “Hundreds of magazines already print on recycled paper, and readers are increasingly concerned about sustainability. Publishers who claim to be concerned about sustainability can and should be printing on recycled paper.”

Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 3.2.1. For more information visit www.papercalculator.org.

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