Optimizing the Ecological Footprint of your Boston-based Business

Ecological Footprint Hazards

Our increasingly paperless society has a gigantic ecological footprint.  Tablets, laptops, desktops, cellphones and fiber optic data transmission networks which may all replace paper in some ways, not only take vast amount of energy to produce and function; their operation requires the use of rare earth elements (REE’s).  And herein lies the conservation conundrum because the extraction and use of REEs devastates the environment.

REE’s must be extracted from the ground through open pit mining which involves digging out large areas of land to substantial depths and bringing these materials to a location for the extraction. The mining consumes large amounts of fossil fuels, results in air and water pollution and leaves behind scarred ecosystems. During extraction, REEs are separated from the geological material that encrusts them using water, solvents, chemicals, and toxic materials which my pollute the air, ground, or water with terrible consequences. The unwanted rocky leftovers often contain radioactive material, which tends to be found in the same deposits as the REEs.

It is unusual to find REEs in concentrations high enough for economical extraction and the supply is declining. They have special properties that are crucial to our modern devices and are irreplaceable since synthetics do not exist. There are no substitutes for REEs. Also, electronics contain hazardous substances like cadmium, leas and mercury which can poison the soil and water.

Although only tiny amounts of REEs may be used in each device, at a global scale the amounts are enormous. For examples, a typical cell phone contains a little over 0.1 ounce of neodymium (in the tiny rechargeable battery in the screen), and europium, terbium, and yttrium (in the liquid crystal display screen). In the US alone, there are roughly as many cell phones as people and therefore 1000 tons of REEs are embedded in just one kind of device. Worldwide, close to 150,000 tons of REEs are used every year in the manufacture of electronic devices and instruments.

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most people obtain a new cell phone about every 18 months and that only 1-10% of cell phones are recycled in the US. The rest end of in landfills as electronic waste. In 2005, about 65000 tons of electronic waste in the US was from cell phones or less 1% of the electronic waste generated by the US.

We live in an era where the constant demand for more and better electronic devices demand and require more REEs as well as more electricity for both manufacture and use of the multiple devices. This results in an impact on the ecological footprint.

Ecological Footprint Benefits of Using Recycled Paper Products

White paper production does have a cost but it also has the following unique inherent sustainable features over many other products, for example electronics:

1. It is made from natural and renewable raw materials, trees, which are the product of soil, water and sunlight and can be re-harvested, re-planted and used indefinitely if forests are managed properly.

2. Paper helps to increase levels of literacy and democracy worldwide and plays and important role in protecting goods and foodstuffs during transit.

3. Paper is one of the most recycled commodities in the world with levels of over 65% recovery in North America and paper can be recycled 6-7 times to make new paper products.

4. Paper production is one of the highest users of renewable energy, with over 65% of energy coming from renewable sources as biomass.

5. Well managed and third party certified forests provide numerous environmental, social and economic benefits throughout North America, including protection of air and water and acting as a carbon sink to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

6. Paper and paperboard recovery in 2013 resulted in a reduction of 149 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to removing 31 million cards from the road in one year.

Ecological Footprint Alternatives

Two studies on the ecological footprint have found that paperless initiatives do not save trees. The loss of markets for paper and other wood products, a large portion of which are produced from wood harvested on privately owned land, increased the risk of forest lost. The number of trees on managed forest lands has been increasing considerably over the last 60 years due to responsible forestry practices. Wood is a valuable renewable resource . Even in a declining market for printing and writing paper means:

a. Using less paper does not mean that wood harvesting will be reduced

b. Similar or rising volumes of wood are being harvested in key forest regions of North America for other sues including lumber, fuel pellets and pulp for use in production of packaging, tissues and textiles

c. The market focus is likely to shift to other opportunities besides paper given the broad utility of wood, global needs for raw materials and incentives of many forest owners to derive income from their lands.

Private forest ownership and stable paper markets create a synergy that has long yielded tens of thousands of jobs, rural income and strong incentives for continued investment in forests for the near and long term. However, if efforts to reduce wood markets succeed over a long period of time, the result will likely be a loss of forest lands rather than the reverse.

North American forests are a global resource providing critical renewable raw materials for a variety of societal needs. Large areas of these forests are managed by millions of individual landowners, many of whom rely on their forest for income. Without a market for wood from pulp and paper manufacturers, significant numbers of landowners will turn to different markets or perhaps reduce investment in tree planting. Should markets for wood simply dry up, then there is a very real likelihood of land conversions to other uses such as urban development or agriculture result in the trees being cleared for these other applications.

It is important to understand that forest resources are used for many different products in addition to paper. For example, in the south US, forest landowner have embraced the emergence of a growing bioenergy industry that produces fuel pellets from wood. The new bioenergy industry is currently consuming a quantity of wood equivalent to about 16% of that going into pulp and paper production, up from 0% in 2008. Canada has seen a steep decline in paper production, and the use of pulpwood for papermaking due to mill closures over the past decade. However, harvesting rates have remained the same or increased due to the acceptance by saw mills of new markets for pulp in making textiles in India and energy pellets. The energy pellets serve an export market that is seeking lower carbon production of energy supplies. Rather than asking which is better, paper or electronic communication, we should be working to determine which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while meeting social and economic needs.

For additional information, download our free whitepaper, How Print Grows Trees or visit our website to find out how Kendall Press Recycles! We would love to hear from you!

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Can Apps and Social Media Work for your Business?

Get Social with Kendall Press

Get Social with Kendall Press

Running a successful business today means putting social media to work for your company. Regardless of industry, a strong social media presence allows you to maximize your reach, while at the same time generate sales from other sources aside from local consumers. Whether you are launching a startup or looking to expand a current business, utilizing social media and various applications that are beneficial to teams and industry leaders is a way to stay one step ahead of the competition while reaching a much wider audience.

Branding Your Company’s Social Media Presence

Before setting up social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, it’s important to consider the audience you want to reach regarding demographics and age groups. How do you want to present your company? What voice do you want to implement when showcasing products or services? Are you planning to share graphics, videos, or humorous updates to potential customers? Carefully consider the voice, tone, and style you want to use to represent your brand based on the audience you plan on reaching (with paid or organically grown content).

Social Media Tips for Business

When creating social media pages for your business, using the same handle and username for all options is highly advisable. Steer clear of confusing names or characters that may leave users lost or unsure of your page’s authenticity. Consider the flow of your posts and the type of content you produce to streamline your pages and keep users coming back for more. Share real stories and content from relevant industry professionals, helping to build brand loyalty and authority. Consistent updating is the key to maintaining relevancy while also keeping potential customers engaged in hearing what you have to say.

Slack

Slack is known throughout both the startup world as well as large-scale companies to help teams and employees better communicate with one another. As a free app download available for both Android and iOS phones, Slack allows individuals within a company to create selective “channels” for marketing, general chat, social media, and any other customized channel that is fitting for your business. Sending messages to an entire team simultaneously allows employees to work more efficiently while also staying on topic with unlimited channels available. Sending images, graphics, and documents is also a possibility with Slack, making it extremely useful when completing everything from print projects, marketing material outlines, to setting goals for an upcoming week or month.

Houseparty App

One application that is growing fast within business markets is an app that was originally designed for college students and a younger demographic altogether. The Houseparty App is free and available on Android and iOS phones, allowing users to create private or public “rooms” to video chat with one another “on the fly.” Although Skype is an alternative, along with GoToMeeting, Houseparty is entirely free and allows up to 8 users in one room simultaneously. Chatting with team members or employees who work remotely will help everyone to catch up on projects and plans quickly regardless of location.

Evernote

Evernote is a classic app that is useful for saving documents, photos, and even print materials you want to share with your entire team or specific employees with ease. The free version of Evernote allows users to upload 60 megabytes of data each month, with premium versions available for large-scale companies. Using Evernote is a quick and easy method of showcasing updates, saving and pinning websites to share, and collectively engaging in one another’s finds online (without pesky bookmarks and browsing).

Take time to consider your company’s needs regarding finance, communication, and time management to assess which type of apps work best for your teams. Find the voice and branding of your business to appeal to potential consumers without sounding robotic or “too corporate,” while still resonating with those who are interested in your products or services. The more you truly understand the needs of your consumers, the easier it becomes to relate to them, helping to boost sales, loyalty, and interest in any industry.

The Kendall Press team would love to hear how you use Social Media and Apps to grow your business and which apps that you find most useful!   Visit out website and connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Exhibiting at Trade Shows, Why and Why Not?

Trade Shows

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Trade Show Starter Pack

Trade shows

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All About Trade Shows: Table Covers

Table Cloth

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Promotional Product Examples

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The Digital vs. Print Color Dilemma

Pantone Colors

One of the most frequently asked questions we get are about the colors and formats of files. Specifically, the file type easiest to work with and what color profile the file should contain. Our recommendation is: High Resolution PDF with 1/8th inch … [Continue reading]