Thousands of Petitions Delivered to Push Smithsonian Magazine onto Recycled Paper

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 – Green America delivered a recycled “Christmas Tree” representing over 11,000 petition signatures to Smithsonian Enterprises. The petition signers called on Smithsonian to move its magazine to recycled-content paper, in order to save impacted forests and reduce landfill waste. Green America held the event yesterday on the National Mall to raise awareness of its “Practice What You Print, Smithsonian” campaign. The campaign builds on the organization’s success persuading National Geographic to begin printing on recycled-content paper in 2014.

Smithsonian requires almost 65,000 trees for its 19 million magazine copies every year. By incorporating just 30 percent 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 2 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 landfills 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.)

While most of the 11,000 petition signatures were submitted online, hundreds were mailed into Green America’s office (printed on 100 percent recycled paper), which the Better Paper Project team put together into a festive “tree” for Smithsonian.
A short video of the tree being delivered can be found here:

“Today we reminded Smithsonian that many of its subscribers value sustainability and that they are eager to support products and companies that reflect those values,” said Beth Porter, director of Green America’s Better Paper Project. “Smithsonian has made symbolic commitments to sustainability, but when it comes to producing its magazines, the organization is falling short.”


        Better Paper Project team: Beth Porter & Kat Battaglia

“We are asking Smithsonian to join the hundreds of publications that have successfully switched to recycled paper,” said Todd Larsen, co-executive director on Consumer Engagement for Green America. “With a switch to readily available 30 percent recycled fiber paper, Smithsonian could significantly reduce its environmental impacts while continuing to produce a high-quality publication that readers enjoy.”

Additionally, a transition from 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.

Consumers interested in supporting the campaign to move Smithsonian Magazine to recycled paper can still sign the petition and learn more about the campaign goals here:

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides economic strategies and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems.

Green America’s Better Paper Project has 15 years of experience guiding publishers to more sustainable paper choices for magazines. This goal of increasing the demand for recycled paper offers huge relief to endangered forest areas, curbs the publishing industry’s climate change impacts, and lessens pollution of nearby communities through new paper production.

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

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