And tell the real story of print and paper

line decor
line decor

Printing community


We are just like you . We are people who work in the printing and paper industries and we love it.It has provided us our livelihoods and, for many of us, has been our life's work. It is a career choice that we are rightfully proud of and we wouldn't change a thing... well, almost!

We care, because we have watched the industry we love shrink and erode around us. The reasons for this are complex and manifold, but a key driver has been the adoption of new electronic technologies in preference of the printed medium and the universally held opinion that printing and paper manufacturing are bad for the environment. How truly ironic this is, for it is precisely the opposite that is true .

The demand for paper, that the printing industry helps to drive, leads directly to the planting of millions of sapling trees that sequester enormous amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing the effects of global warming. Moreover, this simple action helps to offset some of the emissions caused by electronic media - the very organisation's who would have us dismantled.

Doesn't it annoy you that many banks are selling the story to their customers that the switch to e-billing is better for the environment? Doesn't it rankle you just a little bit when you see a warning at the foot of an email to avoid printing it out? Doesn't it incense you when an organisation of the stature of the World Wildlife Fund actively tells the world that printing is bad and that we should avoid it at all costs to 'save a tree'?

We intend to change this. As yet our voice is small, but it will grow louder and clearer with the coming weeks and months. With your support and shared commitment to effect positive change, you can help us reverse the fortunes of the printing and paper industries forever, or as long as there is surplus CO2 in the atmosphere, which will likely be several generations.

How I got involved:

My interest in the environmental impact of paper and its manufacture began a few years ago when a group of industry colleagues and I began to discuss the merits, or not, of recycling paper. We did this publically at first in an online forum operated and owned by Haymarket Publishing who happen to produce the industry’s largest circulation trade magazine – ‘Printweek’.

Being both an ‘armchair’ scientist and environmental enthusiast, I had long held the view that if paper did not decay in landfill to the extent thought, then the benefits of using it as a so-called ‘carbon sink’ might outweigh the energy costs of turning wood pulp into paper and printing on it. Moreover, it was even conceivable that the printing industry might actually be operating ‘carbon neutrally’ without even realising it, making it the most environmentally friendly form of communication on the planet.

This view, of course, was heartily contested at first and my thinking, for quite a while, was stood in stark contrast with that of my peers. But, once the science had been discussed and analysed to the n th degree, a group of four people emerged whose views now supported the still controversial assertion that paper was indeed a carbon sink and that the inexorable push for the recycling of paper was not only misguided, but potentially harming the only chance the human species has to sequester CO2 actively from the Earth’s atmosphere.

We have made a lot of progress since those early discussions, but we still have a long way to go. That is why I am involved in FOPAP. To help my colleagues and friends educate the world as to the unique carbon sequestering properties of paper and, in doing so, perhaps help improve the outlook for the future of printing, and indeed the world, forever.

How I got involved:

Hi. I'm Mick Hart, and I have been involved in printing for over thirty years, having joined the industry as a trainee production manager at a well known print finishing, book-binding and stationery manufacture. Since then I have done just about every job possible in finishing and in commercial printing, from shop-floor to director, and at various companies, including my own. Print is a great medium to work in, and I intend do my best to keep it that way. I currently run my own very small company which produces short run print and printed marketing tools, and I do everything from photography, design and copy writing to digital print, and finishing, all under one ceiling.

I have two young daughters, and my ambition is to leave to them a more sustainable world than my parents left me. Having seen this seemingly simple dream become further from reality as I have become older, I ‘got involved’ with FOPAP. I have never automatically accepted what everyone tells me as being correct, and believe that if things aren’t improving now, having followed existing policies for many years, then perhaps those policies are wrong. Once you accept that possibility your eyes open, then it becomes so easy to see what is happening and why. I was lucky enough to stumble upon three others who think the same way, and pooling our thoughts, we turned a niggling idea into what is now, to us, blindingly obvious reality. Hopefully, when my kids grow up and look back, they will be able to say ‘at least someone tried’. Even better still would be ‘look what they achieved’, and whilst we will probably never know which, they certainly will, and that makes it all worthwhile.

(C) 2011