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by Wendy Gabriel

I was recently reading through one of my favorite clothing/home/everything cool catalogues, Anthopologie, and saying to myself that I should just view their products online and save some trees. Then I discovered that they are one step ahead of me; they are using FutureMark Paper for their publications.

FutureMark Paper is setting the bar high for other paper mills wanting to provide a more sustainable product. They are the only company in North America making 90-100% recycled content magazine/catalog quality paper (everything else is 10-30% or from Europe), and, defying common wisdom, there is no premium on it compared to regular paper, and large market publications such as Everyday with Rachel Ray are confident enough of the quality to use it, along with Whole Foods, Walmart, and Anthropologie, among others.  

They are able to produce such a high quality recycled product because FutureMark Paper‘s factory is purpose built to accept recycled material. When the typical paper mill uses recycled materials it reduces their factory efficiency and costs more because they are set up to primarily process virgin fibers.

More reasons to love FutureMark Paper:

  • They divert more than 200 million pounds of waste paper from landfills annually.
  • By using reclaimed waste paper instead of virgin raw materials, they save over 2 million trees each year.
  • Compared to 0% recovered fiber content products, they reduce the amount of CO2 emitted into the air by over 150,000 tons each year.
  • Their world class deinking plant gently “washes” waste paper for reuse and collects the leftover ink, coatings and other solid residues for use as landscape cover.
  • Their clean-tech processes have reduced their VOC emissions by 90% over the past decade.
  • They minimize water consumption, saving over 800 million gallons of wastewater annually.*

* Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator.

Want to feel better about reading your favorite magazine? Tell them to start using FutureMark Paper.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: When you go shopping make it a priority to bring your own bag!Bring Your Own Bag

Anytime you plan to make a purchase, bring your own bag.

  • Grocery store
  • To the mall
  • To the farmers market

There’s a lot of pressure when you’re at the checkout counter and they ask “paper or plastic.”

PLASTIC BAGS: plastic bags don’t biodegrade – that’s the process of breaking down completely into organic material which is then assimilated back into the soil. Most plastic will photo-degrade. This means, over time and when exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight, the plastic material’s chemical “chain” starts to break down resulting in microscopic particles that mix in with the soil. How long that process takes is not clear.

  • Every single piece of plastic ever manufactured is still on the planet.
  • It is in use, intact in landfills, as windblown litter, and also contaminating global river systems and oceans.
  • There is an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean. Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.
  • Each reusable bag used has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.

Introduced just over 30 years ago in 1977, the ugly truth about our plastic bag addiction is that society’s consumption rate is now estimated at well over 500,000,000,000 (that’s 500 billion) plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute.

  • The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually.
  • An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
  • Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic.
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
  • There are over 3,300 deaths of children each year in the US alone who die from asphyxiation from plastic bags.
  • The simple act of saying NO to plastic bags is something everyone can do.

PAPER BAGS: The production of a paper bag consumes 1 gallon of water (PER BAG) – which equals 50 times that of plastic bags.

A lot of resources are used to make the paper:

  • Trees
  • Chemicals
  • Electricity
  • Fossil fuels

Add to that the chemicals, electricity, and fossil fuels used in the shipment of this raw material and in the production and shipment of a finished paper bag.

Wendy’s web pick of the week:

Fake Plastic Fish

Fake Plastic Fish has wonderful tips for living with less plastic.

I had the honor of interviewing the founder, Beth Terry, and she is an amazing woman who is on a mission to educate the world about the evils of plastic.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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