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Panpa Bulletin : May 2010
MENTION the words "green" and "environment" to newspaper printers, and you might get a few jokes or even blank looks. Discuss "efficiency" and "waste", and then they'll talk your ear off. You'll soon hear that the printing industry, and by extension newspa- pers, has moved from the image of a dirty industry that cuts down trees to an industry that now borders on being carbon-neutral. Damian Balkin, general manager of printing at the southern New South Wales daily, the Border Mail, says the drive to save money through effi- ciency has lead to a more sustainable industry. "Waste is foremost on the agenda. If you reduce waste, you can save money," he says. "Every printing plant within Fair- fax, News Ltd, or anywhere else, has a high focus on waste at their plants. "We focus on efficiency because we need to; because the margins are very tight. We're driven to be efficient, and driven to not have waste. Every kilo of waste we can avoid is money to our bottom line." This drive for cost-cutting and effi- ciency has lead to printing as a whole becoming almost carbon neutral, according to Phillip Lawrence, an academic who conducts research into the industry's performance. Mr Lawrence presented research at the Single-Width Users Group conference in Tamworth, detailing a comparison of printers' eco-footprints in 1990 to 2007. He says there's been "a massive change in the way the industry has been structured". "The printing industry in 2007 is 97 per cent less environmentally damag- ing; in other words, less carbon emis- sion than in 1990." Changes in technology, such as the switch from UV exposure plate systems to CTP systems, auto-blanket washing and the evolution of news- print production, are responsible for much of the progress. "There's been a leap in paper tech- nology; in the efficiency of the way paper is manufactured (by consuming) water and energy," he says. This increased efficiency, and the fact most newsprint comes from plantation forests, means the industry is almost carbon neutral, says Mr Lawrence. Citing climate change economic re- ports by Professor Ross Garnaut and Nicholas Stern, he says the greatest contributor of CO2 emissions in the forestry sector is deforestation. And when the contribution of deforestation is removed forestry "absorbs more carbon than it emits". Mr Lawrence adds that cutting down trees in plantations isn't con- sidered deforestation, as the trees are replaced. "Deforestation is the permanent loss of forest from one use to another use, like cattle grazing or growing soya beans," he says. Dr Pep Canadell, executive direc- tor of the global carbon project at the CSIRO, Australia's government body for scientific research, agrees that the forestry industry overall soaks up more carbon dioxide than it emits. "A properly managed forest is a net sink," he says, adding that forestry operators can increase the amount of carbon absorbed by varying the time between cutting and planting, and other factors. "Forests can absorb anywhere between five tonnes of carbon per hectare per year to 20 tonnes." He adds that if nation had a mecha- nism for putting a price on carbon, such as an emissions trading scheme or a tax, forestry operators might even be able to make additional money through selling carbon credits. The details of any such system are a long way off. "When there is a price, the industry would be looking carefully at what is best for them," he continues. "Some forestry operations in the US are already looking at combining timber removal with carbon sequestration." Mr Lawrence says: "Professor Gar- naut said that the major mechanism for addressing climate change was going to be changing technologies. "We need industry to become more efficient, and in becoming efficient, its eco-footprint will change." That has already been achieved by newspapers, says Mr Lawrence, though it's not widely known. "The industry has made these posi- tive impacts totally unintentionally, to- tally accidentally, and has been driven by the intense competition within the industry," he says. www.panpa.org.au The PANPA Bulletin | MAY, 2010 | 11 Efficiency ... Competition and economics are driving a reduction in waste and energy usage at paper mills like the Norske Skog site in Albury Accidental greenies Newspapers are almost carbon-neutral -- and most of us have no clue about how or when that happened. NICK EVERSHED investigates GOING GREEN iPhone Newsreader The easiest way to publish your news through a company-branded iPhone newsreader. Watch our Video Demo on www.woodwing.com No development costs Quick time-to-market Full-service, pay p/m Easy to use USD 549 Only p/m Publishers bid to extend recycle deal THE Publishers National Environment Bureau, (PNEB) established voluntar- ily in 1991, is the proud holder of the first Industry Waste Reduction Agree- ment (IWRA) in Australia between an industry sector and the Common- wealth Government. It was the first of its kind in Australia and has been the most successful with every recycling target exceeded. The original IWRA was endorsed by the Australia and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZECC) in February 1992. Since that time PNEB has worked in collab- oration with Norske Skog Australasia to develop five-yearly plans for waste reduction in the industry. The current plan is due for renewal. A continued National Environ- mental Sustainability Agreement between the industry and govern- ment will take industry/government collaboration to a new level, extend- ing the newsprint and publishing industry's commitment to product stewardship (a key feature promoted in the Federal Government's 2009 Na- tional Waste Policy). The new agreement proposes enhancing the role that the industry can play in education of future gen- erations through demonstrating the principles of sustainability. Links through the Aussie Sustain- able Schools Initiative and the News- papers in Education (NiE) programs are examples of opportunities that can be extended with the support of this agreement. *Lillias Bovell is the executive director of the Publish- ers National Environment Bureau, which represents newspapers and magazines in Australia Lillias Bovell PNEB Publishers are preparing to negotiate a new deal in Australia with the federal government on waste management. Lillias Bovell* explains Newspapers and magazines are an entirely sustaina- ble resource. No eucalypt or any other native species are used in manufacturing newsprint in Australia. It is made from either: Plantation softwood, in the form of forest waste (thinnings) and forest industry by-products or Thinnings and forest industry by-products with added recycled fibre from old newspapers and magazines. • • Newsprint manufactured in Australia is reuseable. If it is recovered, clean and dry, uncontaminated by or- ganics, it can be re-used again and again for a variety of applications: After de-inking reprocessed into newsprint As an important ingredient in the Australian manu- facture of cardboard and other paperboard for the coating on plaster sheeting for housing and con- struction As feedstock for industries producing egg cartons, home insulation and cat litter; and Material surplus to Australian requirements is ex- ported to countries that use it to make newsprint or cardboard feedstock. • • • •