Closing the loop

“Stop publishing newspapers,” a recent Get Green blog mentioned. “That’s a way to save the environment.”

A bold statement or misguided?

There are other examples of things used and produced by people that may fit the same criteria.

Take cars for instance. Is there anything that is worse than our rolling stock? Save the environment. Stop driving cars.

Well, the truth is nothing has proved more versatile then the internal combustion engine. We may be in the process as a society to weaning ourselves from these very independent means of transporting us, but it’s going to take awhile.

Save the environment. Let’s not dam our rivers. Again, while the damage incurred over time is not arguable in some cases, what has been something that humans have created that has lasted so long and been so renewable as hydroelectric power?

The real statement here is to look at the greater good by companies’ production versus minimal damages. Who is putting forward the smallest footprint in the best possible manner?

In part, this blog brings to light that the modern newspaper is an industry trying to do its job responsibly in the way of environmental matters. Anyone can mass produce a product with blatant disregard to get the item to market in a manner that is down right destructive.

Newspapers, indeed the local hometown version you read everyday in the Tri-Cities, are trying to minimize the damage while maximizing the benefit to the community.

Newsprint is very seldom produced without a percentage of it being made from recycled pulp. Ink isn’t the petroleum based goo it used to be. Water is recaptured or filtered and treated before being released. All the products possible being used by the workers within the plant are being returned to be reused. This can range from paper clips to plastic drink containers. From aluminum cans to scrap steel. Plastic pallets recycled in place of wood. Cardboard shipping containers, boxes, FedEx shipping packages, manila envelopes, all being sorted and returned to be recycled.

While modern society hasn’t gotten close to creating an unbroken cycle where every item used is completely made from recycled product, we need to be wise enough to realize which companies are trying to be responsible in their production.

It’s kind of tough to point a finger at newspapers and journalism and what it has meant to society and say it’s harmful to the environment, and therefore it should go away.

Is this a perfect production process? No way.

On the flip side there are plenty of companies that have utter disregard when it comes to environmental issues. Keep reading. Maybe we can convince some folks newspapers are not one of those.

-- Ron Buckland is the Herald’s post press department maintenance coordinator and has worked at the paper since 1976.