Last week we shared interesting facts about how paper and printed goods aren’t as harmful to the environment as we thought and how they often provide more help than harm.
We want to follow up with those observations by sharing the economic and social benefits of printed paper as well.
Research from PrintGrowsTrees.com highlights major roles the paper industry used to play in our economy, how printed advertising strongly supports company profits, and how printed goods are still a form of recreation for most…
Printed paper also serves many economic and social benefits. Millions of U.S. jobs – from tree farming to advertising – depend on print. Printing and related jobs are projected to decline by 16 percent and newspaper publishing by 23.2 percent by 2018. That’s a lot of people out of work, and, in the case of places where paper is manufactured, sometimes represents entire communities that are economically devastated.
According to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), between 2007 and 2008, 35 paper mills were closed and 79 paper machines were permanently shut down. To read a personal account of how that has affected one papermaking community, please order a copy of the San Francisco Panorama, a McSweeney’s publication, and read Nicholson Baker’s article, “Can a Paper Mill Save a Forest? The strange possibility that the transferring of information digitally is more environmentally destructive than printing it.”
Print helps businesses stay profitable. Research has shown that direct mail is still the most effective way of targeting the right customers with the right message – especially for small businesses. Print helps small business owners get and keep customers. And digital advertising works better when it is mixed with print. New techniques in printing, such as print on demand (POD) and digital printing mean that fewer pieces of print can have a greater economic effect while decreasing impact on the environment. And when consumers are through with direct mail pieces, catalogs or magazine, they can be recycled, recovered and reused.
Print serves those who don’t have constant access to computers. It may seem that everyone, everywhere has access to digital communications, and can afford the energy costs required to power them, but there are still millions of people in the world who depend on books and newspapers to learn and stay connected. For example, only 84 percent of U.S. households own computers.
A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project suggests that a majority of American adults — 61 percent — report feeling overwhelmed by modern technology and some actively resist the push toward the hyperactive, hyper-connected mobile lifestyles that today’s devices enable.
Print can be a more relaxing way to get your information. Getting information from print can serve as a welcome relief from technology. Think of it as a more natural way – easier on the eyes and easier on the environment.