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Go paperless in 2013?


The printing industry’s response to Google’s “Go Paperless in 2013” initiative was swift and excoriating. The big G should have taken a hint from Toshiba, whose “National No Print Day” campaign was shouted down and almost immediately withdrawn. Others in the “paper kills trees” contingent should have warned Google: “If you attack paper, the printers will come for you…run!”

And come for them they did. Open letters to Google CEO Eric Schmidt were published by Printing Industries of America CEO Michael Makin as well as both the US and UK leaders of Two Sides. The paper/print blogosphere was in an uproar. Karen Well of IWCO Direct suggested, “It might be time for Google to search ‘definition of greenwashing’.” Right on!

Google touted its program as: “A campaign to remove the need for paper from ‘paperwork’.” It went on to point out that “In 2010, the amount of paper recovered for recycling averaged 334 pounds for each person living in the US, according to the American Forest & Paper Association.”

Are we to believe that recycling is a bad thing? The G-men must live on a different planet because they clearly don’t care about this one. They completely ignore the fact that heavy metals and petroleum-based materials used to manufacture electronic devices are rarely reclaimed or recycled. Most of that poison ends up in landfills. They don’t address the massive amounts of electricity that must be generated to power banks of servers and all of our devices that access paperless services.

If the company is truly concerned about the environment, it should take a look in the mirror. How about starting an initiative to curb e-waste? Now, that would provide a significant environmental benefit; far better than just cutting back on the use of paper, which is a completely renewable resource.

Now, let’s not be naive. “Go Paperless in 2013” is not really an environmental program; it’s a marketing campaign designed to sell the products offered by Google’s paid sponsors. And yes, I know that everyone already uses online transactions—even me. All I’m saying is that there are better ways to market those services than to obfuscate paper’s impact on the environment.

I hope that anyone who is fool enough to try this tactic in the future will be blown out of the water by the paper lovers before they know what has hit them. In the meantime, let’s all do our part to educate others about the simple fact that paper—and print—are earth-friendly and should be embraced. I think I’ll go hug my magazine now.

National No Print Day…Really?

What on Earth Were They Thinking?

by Karen Hall
Created: July 1, 2012
Toshiba’s latest PR campaign raises ire in the print community

What a bunch of morons! That was my initial reaction when I first heard about Toshiba’s latest promotion, National No Print Day. Are they serious? What PR birdbrain hatched this idea, who was crazy enough to present it, and how on earth did it ever get past the people who actually understand what the company does to make money?

I’m not the only one who was gobsmacked by this apparent lunacy. Printing Industries of America and The Print Council, two defenders of the faith and promoters of all things print, weighed in right away. Printing Industries of America CEO Michael Makin says, “We find such a proposal ridiculous and an insult to the more than 800,000 Americans who owe their direct livelihood to our industry.” Booyah!

Wait a minute. Back up. Before we get carried away, let’s take a look at what this project is about and how it is presented.

Toshiba has posted a well-produced video at that encourages office workers not to print anything on October 23. The mascot, a guy wearing a tree-themed sports mascot outfit, tells us he really needs a day off, then treats us to a montage of all the wonderful things he plans to do on October 23 while no one is printing.

This part comes across like a frat boy fantasy scene. It ends with tree guy in a bedroom having a pillow fight and finally tumbling onto the bed with a couple of cuties in a semi-politically correct version of Girls Gone Wild.

Back in the office, tree guy asks you to “Take the Pledge”. Then a young woman tells us that, of course, Toshiba makes copiers, but it is so committed to sustainability that it’s willing to make this sacrifice. Oh, and it will plant up to 1.5 million trees by 2025.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for sustainability. But how does a company whose livelihood is, at least in part, generated by making copiers justify contributing to the gross misinformation about print’s effect on the environment? This is greenwashing at its most egregious.

Most paper comes from well managed forests and is manufactured using renewable energy. Print’s carbon footprint is infinitely smaller than that of electronic communications.

If Toshiba is really concerned about the environment, maybe it should create a viable recycling program for the e-waste its products create. Now that would be something worth crowing about.

Open Letter from Paper


I’m Paper. Remember me?

I was there when you were born, capturing your height and weight, and even your little footprints. I shined with color, glitter, and paste (lots of paste) when you learned to express your creativity — and I beamed with pride when you first wrote your name, with all the letters facing the right way. I was there the day you earned your first A in math class (posted on the fridge for all to see). And on the day of your graduation, we crossed the stage together. We work together well, too. From your first paycheck to your finest presentation, I’ve always been your partner.

We’ve been through a lot together, and it’s been fun. But lately, it seems like paper has been getting a bad rap. I’ve been accused of all kinds of things — from killing trees, to causing clutter, to flat-out losing my edge. And as paper, that’s just not right. So I wanted to clear things up. Start on a fresh page, if you will. It’s time to reintroduce people to paper, and remind you why we make such a great match.

For starters, I’m all for environmental responsibility. (After all, my parents were trees.) Did you know that when paper comes from a responsibly managed forest, it actually has a positive impact on the nation’s forestland? (Click here to read more about Domtar’s environmental commitment.) Paper comes from nature, and it’s one of the few truly renewable resources — unlike the fossil fuels that power most electronic devices.

Plus, paper creates jobs in communities where people need them most. More than 3.5 million Americans have jobs that directly or indirectly depend on advertising mail — and many more work in companies that process and manufacture paper. It’s also a critical component of the mail system, accounting for nearly 50% of U.S. mail. So not only does paper make it possible to quickly send a letter to someone you love — it also ensures you still have access to six-day-a-week service, and low postage prices.

Paper has always been part of your everyday life. Just think of how many times you used me today. At home, you’ll find paper products in cereal boxes, paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, diapers, magazines, newspapers and books. At schools and universities, it’s used in notebook paper, textbooks, certificates and diplomas. And at work, you use it in office papers, brochures, notepads, presentations, and more. Paper is here to make your life easier. And as long as you use me responsibly, I’ll continue to impact your life in many positive ways.

So, don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere. We’ve had some great times together — and this is only the beginning.

Forever Yours,



87A Sand Pit Rd, Danbury, CT
Phone: (203) 748-1128