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Paper Engineering

NY Times article: “The Hidden Life of Paper”

Yesterday’s New York Times had a fascinating article on the hidden CO2 costs associated with producing paper publications such as magazines and newspapers. Apparently, media companies like Time Inc., the Hearst Corporation, and even Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation are looking at how much CO2 they are producing via their publications. Even advertisers are starting to attempt to calculate the carbon emissions from their advertisements. The upshot of this is that the magazine publishers are starting to put pressure on the paper industry, particularly printers and mills, to somehow reduce their carbon emission, as well as use more recycled paper.

One particularly intriguing solution is for publishers to purchase “offsets”. Basically this would involve in some way being involved in activities that would lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, such as through financing tree plantings.

If you want to explore this further, check out the Paper Working Group. This collaborative group of 11 companies and the nonprofit environmental organization Metafore is working to develop more environmentally friendly paper products.

Note: The link to the New York Times article above will probably only be good for about a week. After that you should look for it in your institution’s subscription to Lexis-Nexis. The citation for the article is as follows:

Story, Louise. (25 Oct. 2006) The hidden life of paper and its impact on the environment. The New York Times. Retrieved 26 Oct. 2006 from the New York Times Online.

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About Ed Eckel

I am a engineering and applied sciences librarian at Western Michigan University.

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