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Newspaper Industry Bright Spot: Smaller Carbon Footprint


There are not very many charts measuring the state of the U.S. newspaper industry that have trended in a positive direction the past few years, and the one above, charting newsprint consumption from 2003 onward is no exception. This data was compiled by Matalia & Co. for the Newspaper Association of America.

The authoritative industry blog for Editor & Publisher called Fitz and Jen covered this and some related issues this week, one of which is the tendency of many to refer to the newspaper business as a "dead tree medium."

In an upcoming white paper by a trade group, The Print Council, according to the blog, there are a number of ways paper products may be more environmentally friendly than computer-based Internet sites:

  • Over 57 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. last year was recycled, a greater portion than for any other recyclable material.
  • More than 60 percent of all paper produced in the U.S. comes from a renewable energy source -- six times the national average for all industry.
  • The average person uses 440 pounds of paper, which requires 500 kilowatt-hours worth of electricity, whereas the average computer can use that much electricity in five months "of continual use."
Back to the chart at the top of this post. With newsprint consumption down more than 20 percent over 2008, regardless of where you stand on the "dead tree" controversy, you could say that the newspaper is definitely reducing its carbon footprint, one way or another.

You can read more about these matters over at Fitz & Jen.