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Industry Insight

Going Green Two Sides Fast Fact #29

By Richard Romano
Published: October 29, 2012

WhatTheyThink’s Going Green has joined forces with Two Sides to help address the “perceptions” that paper destroys forests, that electronic media are “greener” than print and paper, and that recycling is the solution to all environmental ills. While writing about the new Earthworks Recycle My Cell Phone Web site last week, I happened to come across the figure that “only 10% of old cellphones are recycled,” according to the EPA. And that’s perhaps an optimistic estimate. Why Should You Care? As last Tuesday was our self-decreed “Yes Print Day!” (formerly “No Print Day”), we should take this opportunity to point out that as many people and organizations are—falsely—decrying how environmentally damaging print and paper are, the ubiquitous devices that everyone has clapped to their heads represent a potentially far more pressing environmental problem in the form of e-waste, especially given how quickly upgrade cycles are. (Funny, my 80-year-old aunt is still perfectly happy with her old rotary dial Bakelite phone from the 1960s. You can’t play Angry Birds on it, but you can actually hear a telephone conversation—unless she’s talking to someone on a cellphone, that is.) Sure, discarded print often ends up in landfills, but at least when it does, it doesn’t leach potentially toxic materials into the groundwater. For more Two Sides facts see http://www.twosides.us/mythsandfacts.

Richard Romano is Managing Editor of WhatTheyThink | Printing News & Wide-Format & Signage.  He curates the Wide Format section on WhatTheyThink.com. He has been writing about the graphic communications industry for more than 25 years. He is the author or coauthor of more than half a dozen books on printing technology and business. His most recent book is “Beyond Paper: An Interactive Guide to Wide-Format and Specialty Printing.



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