There is a whole lot more to "green" printing than specifying recycled paper.
I meet with a group of print shop owners from around the west a couple times a year. We discuss trends, challenges, marketing, and try to help each other do better. We met in Santa Cruz on Friday, and though "green printing" wasn't on the agenda, we all had something to share. I thought you might like hearing our perspective on the matter.... at least if being "green" really matters to you.
1) Ever notice that there are no paper mills in Reno? Where paper comes from is at least as important as how much post consumer waste is in it. Turns out, most of the "affordable" recycled papers come from the other side of the ocean. Arguably, an American non-recycled paper is more environmentally kind than a recycled paper from China, say.
2) Paper that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified comes from forests that are managed in a sustainable way. This may well be more important than recycled content.
3) The BEST way to save the environment from paper waste is to avoid wasting it in the first place. The following is advice you're not likely to hear from most printers, as this sort of waste is good for our bottom line.
-Proofread BEFORE you print. You wouldn't believe how many jobs go in the garbage because of this one.
-Don't order more than you need just to lower the unit cost. You will not be saving money OR the environment. Something like 30% of all printing is discarded without ever having been used.
4) How about printing locally? Buying from the cheapo internet printer is not good for the local economy OR the environment.
5) How green is your print shop? Do they use eco-friendly press chemicals? Do they dispose of them properly? Do they have an in-house system to reduce waste, re-use supplies, and recycle all that can be? Do they encourage you to print more than you need? Do they support any environmental causes?
The environment is important to us at Reno Type. When you specify "recycled" paper, don't be surprised if we ask a lot of questions. If you want to print GREEN, we want to help you do so in a cost effective manner.
By the way, our HOUSE paper is 30% recycled, FSC certified and comes from the good-old U.S. of A. We use only vegetable based inks, and a waterless press, which, in addition to producing less waste products than conventional presses, makes it efficient to print smaller quantities.