Paper Usage and Waste
Earthwatch (Europe) uses paper and produces publications as a vital part of its work on the dissemination of research findings and the fulfilment of its education and engagement mission. These publications are part of our products and services, which involve materials and suppliers and unavoidably produce waste.
Since 2006 we have had in place processes to measure paper and printed publications usage, recycling and disposal across the office. Paper use is monitored and reviewed every 6 months, using the following indicators:
Paper Usage indicators
- Number of printed publications produced.
- Number of publications available solely on website.
- Number of publications available in printed form and virtually.
- Money spent on postage of publications.
- Proportion of recycled paper or paper from sustainably managed forests used in publications (%).
- Total reams of paper used in the office.
- Amount of stationery used in the office (quantities).
- Amount of paper/publications recycled in the office (average weight).
- Average consumption of paper per capita
Printing is one of the world's largest industries, and the 6th worst in terms of impacts on the environment. The main environmental issues are:
- Normal litho printing wastes a huge amount of water (thousands of litres a day). Waterless printing is the 'green' alternative, however only about 30 printers out of 3,000 in the UK currently offer it.
- Chemicals - in normal litho printing a lot of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in mineral-oil inks and in chemicals used to clean the presses etc. VOCs contribute to loss of the ozone layer.
- Paper use - many organisations now use recycled paper or paper which uses pulp from sustainably managed forests. However in terms of environmental impacts, this is only a minor part of the problem
Earthwatch (Europe) already has strict printing guidelines in place. Our approved printers have ISO14001 accreditation, use the waterless printing process or digital printing process on paper from sustainably managed forests or which is part or wholly recycled, and use vegetable or soya based inks. The use of water-based vegetable inks means printing presses can be cleaned with water rather than chemicals.
A copy of our printing policy is available on request.
The Communications team has reviewed our publication requirements and reduced the number and quantity of printed publications it produces year on year (for example, by producing a monthly e-newsletter, by sending out wildflower seeds instead of Christmas cards, and by sending out e-cards advertising project discounts to volunteers instead of printed postcards). We are increasing our use of electronic communication and the availability of publications on our website in user-friendly formats, which also reduces the transport impact of distributing publications.
Paper Usage and Recycling
An ongoing objective is to continue to reduce the use of paper and postage and to increasingly use e-mail and the website as vehicles for communication with our stakeholders.
Our target of reducing paper use by 10% was met for 2005/06 (over 2004/05 usage).
Earthwatch (Europe) has a clear policy in place for staff with regards to double-sided printing, re-use of paper that has been used on one side, printing of emails and recycling of paper.
Since January 2006, all office waste is monitored and weighed weekly to ensure we are meeting our waste reduction targets. We currently recycle:
- White and coloured paper
- Newspapers and magazines
- Brown envelopes