Archive for June, 2013

ecologoCHICAGO, June 26, 2013 – Two Sides today announced its Ecographic Challenge, a contest to develop an engaging infographic that clearly presents facts about the sustainability of print and paper.  The contest is open to amateur and professional graphic designers who are U.S. residents and are at least 18 years old at the time of entry.  Individual and team entries will be accepted.

“Two Sides is reaching out to the country’s most creative talent to help us promote the sustainability of print and paper in a way that’s fun and easy to understand,” says Two Sides President Phil Riebel. “We’re providing all the facts and asking contestants to create an ‘ecographic’ that will help correct common misperceptions about the sustainability of printed communications, like the ones perpetuated by misleading environmental marketing claims that urge people to switch from paper to electronic communications to protect the environment.”

Two Sides will award one $2,500 cash prize to the winning individual or team.  Entries will be accepted until 9 p.m. EDT on August 16, 2013.  The winner will be announced at the Print13 Conference in Chicago on September 10, and will be acknowledged in all published versions of the ecographic.  Please visit http://www.twosides.us/Two-Sides-Eco-graphic-Challenge for complete rules, ecographic specifications and an entry form.

Support for the Ecographic Challenge is provided by the following Two Sides members:  Ariva, Boise Inc., Domtar Corporation, Lindenmeyr Munroe,  PrintMediaCentr, Unisource Worldwide, UPM and Western States Envelope & Label.

For more information about the Two Sides Ecographic Challenge, please email infographic.twosidesus@gmail.com.

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pharmHere’s one of those instances of political tinkering that’s ripe for the sage advice, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”   Congress is considering legislation to make our prescription drug supply chain more secure, and there are surely things we can do to make the U.S. prescription medication delivery system safer and more efficient.  But a specific provision in the House version of this proposed law (H.R. 1919, Section 8) would do just the opposite.

As currently written, this proposed law would eliminate the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requirement that says printed information – on things like proper drug dosage, side effects, potential drug interactions and risks — must accompany all prescription medication, replacing it with a provision for electronic-only information.   You won’t get any argument from me that the internet is a valuable tool for disseminating this type information to those who dispense dangerous prescription drugs, but Congress really needs to summon up a little common sense before mandating electronic-only communication.    

Think about the diversity of settings where health care practitioners dispense prescription drugs.   From pharmacies and cruise ship infirmaries to EMT transports and rural nursing homes, internet access and reliability vary considerably.   Do we really want to legislate a system where vital patient information is available to almost every health care practitioner?  That’s just not good enough for me – especially if I happen to get sick in one of those undeserved locations and need a prescription!

We need a safe, reliable system where vital prescription drug information is available to all health care professionals and their patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   One of the most effective ways to make this happen is for important printed information to accompany a drug through the product distribution system from the manufacturer to the health care professional … just as it does today.   

 H.R. 1919 passed the House of Representatives on June 3.  A similar bill is coming up for consideration  in the Senate, but without the paperless provision.   The two measures will then go to a Conference Committee as legislators work to merge them into what may eventually be voted into law. 

Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Infotrends study commissioned by Consumer for Paper Options

Infotrends study commissioned by Consumer for Paper Options

As banks, utilities and other types of companies push paperless bills saying electronic communications are “greener” and “protect the environment,” results of a new nationwide poll  show consumers just don’t buy those claims.  In fact, an overwhelming majority — 87% — believe the main reason companies want to shift customers to electronic delivery formats is to save money, not to be environmentally responsible.

The poll, conducted for Consumers for Paper Options (CPO) to determine American attitudes toward government mandates and private sector programs that require electronic-only communications, also found that 84% of consumers think companies should not be able to force the shift to electronic bills, statements and other documents.   (The Executive Summary of the poll, Access for All: American Attitudes Regarding Paper & Digital Information, is available here.)

It’s clear that just about everybody thinks “go paperless, go green” marketing is ultimately about cost savings – a perfectly legitimate corporate goal – so why not just say that?   Does is make good business sense to continue making unfounded claims about the sustainability of paper (aka greenwashing) if most consumers don’t believe them? 

Companies that continue to use unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims about print and paper not only risk eroding trust in their brands, but also may invite attention from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, better known as the Green Guides,  are very clear that environmental claims should be based on “competent and reliable scientific evidence” which they further define as “tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.”

But even without the full scientific scrutiny of a complete life-cycle assessment, three basic comparisons of print on paper vs. pixels serve up a pretty compelling case for paper’s environmental sustainability and for keeping it as a communications option for consumers. 

  1. Paper is made from a renewable resource, wood fiber from trees. Computers and the data center infrastructure that supports them are made primarily from finite resources – petroleum-based plastics, metals and rare earth minerals.
  2. More than 65% of the energy used to manufacture paper in the United States comes from renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.  With very few exceptions, the growing infrastructure of the U.S. information and communications technology sector is powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change. 
  3. In 2012, 65.1% of paper produced in the United States was recovered for recycling (AF&PA) compared to only 38% of computers in 2009 (the most recent figure available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), and e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the United States.  

Whether or not they always follow through, I think most people want to be environmentally responsible in their choice of products and services.   Companies that play fast and loose with environmental marketing claims like “go paperless, go green” only serve to make it more difficult for people to make valid choices and to erode trust in all green marketing claims – including those that represent real environmental value.

It’s time to wise up corporate America!  Show your customers a little respect and pull back the green veil that covers the real intent of your anti-paper marketing messages.   They’ll appreciate your honesty … and so will the FTC.

Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.

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SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry recently joined Two Sides as an Allied Organization.  So when we found out that the Papyrus Club at SUNY-ESF and the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation were designing and producing T-shirts to promote the great environmental story of paper products, Two Sides was happy to help.

We provided a small grant to help with the initiative and also sent some facts and information for consideration to print on the T-Shirts.  The end result was this:

Front of T-shirt


Back of T-shirt


  • Paper comes from trees; one of our most renewable resources.
  • The paper industry helps curb the loss of private forestland to development by providing landowners with an income-producing alternative.
  • In the United States, we grow more trees than we harvest.  The amount of forestland has remained essentially the same – 750 million acres – over the last 100 years.


  • In 2012, over 65% of the paper produced in the U.S. in 2012 was recovered for recycling.
  • Paper is more recycled than any other commodity including plastics (8%), glass (27%) and aluminum (50%).
  • For every ton of paper recycled, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space is saved.


  • Energy generated and consumed in US paper production comes from renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.
  • Paper continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime and has a low carbon footprint.
  • The forest products industry leads all other manufacturing sectors in onsite electricity generation, meeting more than half of its own energy needs.
  • The print and paper industry accounts for only 1.1% of global carbon dioxide emissions; while the electronic communications sector accounts for over 2%, and this is expected to double by 2020.
Students at SUNY-ESF proudly wearing their new "choose paper" T-shirts

Students at SUNY-ESF proudly wearing their new “choose paper” T-shirts

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