Printers are often the most eco•friendly people

The greatest irony of Google’s Paperless 2013 campaign is that the people who are involved in producing real, physical materials are often far more eco-conscious than those who work only in the digital cloud.

There is something about actually interacting with the materials that are being produced that makes the idea of waste and the need to recycle very real. It is hard to conceptualise the waste that comes from the production of the plastics that make up our electronic devices, or the energy needed to power the servers that keep our cloud computing online and available 24/7. Whereas it is easy to see and comprehend the (hopefully small, but admittedly inevitable) piles of waste materials in a printing factory, and to appreciate that small efforts to reduce such waste make a real, and strikingly noticeable difference.

Dead Tree Edition (an organisation offering insights, analysis, practical advice, and smart-aleck comments related to the production and distribution of publications, such as magazines and catalogs, in the United States) recently put forward these observations about the obvious dichotomy…

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Knew I Was in the Production Department When …

I toured a publishing company recently that had no signs marking the various departments, but I didn’t need a sign to know when I was among the folks who buy paper and plan print projects.

Most departments looked pretty much the same — people sitting at computers. OK, you could spot the designers because they had Macs and big monitors, but otherwise the differences were subtle — a bit more phone chatter in ad sales, more arguments in editorial, more gossip in circulation.

As an environmentalist, I noticed that every department had recycling bins. And whether people worked mostly in old media or new media, they used those bins the same: as garbage cans.

Then I rounded a corner and saw it — a recycling bin with a cover that had two holes, indicating it was for bottles and cans. And it actually contained only bottles and cans!

Nearby was another recycling bin with a sign saying, “For paper only.” And people were actually obeying the sign!

I knew right away I was in the production department.

Read more…

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