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Don’t Print This Email


We’ve all seen the message.

Tucked neatly into emails, between a friendly signoff and an inspirational quote, it advises readers to think about the environment before they print — and suggests that if they still choose to hit the big green button, they’ll be striking a major blow to our nation’s forests. But how many of us have hovered our cursors over the word “print,” trying to choose between the future of our planet and the ability to annotate documents, take home a hard copy, or work on a report with all our resources at hand? Paper has always been an essential part of our lives, from our first days in school to our everyday work on the job. So, why the sudden push to “delete” this valued resource, in favor of an all-digital world — the much-talked-about, but seldom-realized “paperless” lifestyle?

The phenomenon began with the best of intentions. After all, who wouldn’t agree that paper is a valuable resource, and senseless waste should be avoided? But what about the aspects of paper that just can’t be replicated in the digital realm? From ease of sharing documents, to a familiar sense of comfort, to the way the brain processes information, paper still plays an important role in our lives. And paper manufacturers like Domtar are taking great care to ensure it also plays a role in supporting sustainable forest management. So, maybe it’s not a matter of choosing “to print or not to print,” as much as making the right choice for the task at hand. Below are a few guidelines to help decide when to print, when to save, and why.

Think before you print.

Good advice. Everyone should be responsible when considering whether or not an item should be printed. It may help to think about whether you really need a printout, and how long you plan to keep it. If it's an email you can quickly take care of on-screen, and won't need to reference again, ask yourself whether printing it out really adds value. If not, you may want to skip printing this time. However, if an item needs to be read in detail, written on, and remembered, paper is a reasonable and responsible choice — especially when it's Domtar paper.

To help decide on print vs. pixels, take a look at this infographic.  

Set the records straight.

If you’ve ever been audited, you may have an idea of what it means to keep accurate records — and perhaps more importantly, what it means if you don’t. Hard drives crash, backup systems often fail; and many of us simply fail to keep accurate digital records in the first place. Organizing financial documents on paper lets us see every transaction as a physical object, and file it in a physical place. Maybe that’s why paper has been proven to do a better job in helping us keep track of money matters. Just be sure to save a copy off-site.

Collaborate and connect.

When it comes to connecting with friends online, social media sites have a definite advantage — but in business, sharing and discussing a printed document is still extremely efficient. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to ignore an email than a stack of papers in your inbox. You can jot down messages, affix sticky notes, and show it and discuss with a colleague, your team, or your boss. Paper plays an important role in the way we do business —and when it's used responsibly, it can improve productivity and efficiency.

Make an investment that’s worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

It’s not just about what you print — it’s also about what you print it on. By choosing an environmentally responsible paper from Domtar, you help ensure a sustainable future for the forests that provide the paper you use every day. Domtar paper is certified to the standards of internationally recognized organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®).  Domtar is committed to responsible forest management, and has a preference for FSC certification where available. Sustainable forest management practices include the maintaining of High Conservation Value Forests, habitat protection for endangered species, biodiversity for healthy forest ecosystems and safe places for animals to repopulate and plant species to thrive.

Unlike fossil fuels, gemstones and natural gas, which take millions of years to be restored, trees are a truly renewable resource — and the forest products industry plants millions of new trees each day. Paper is also 100% recyclable. So, once you print that document (on an environmentally responsible paper), don’t just throw it away — give it a second life.

Get together.

Both electronic and print media are important, and both impact the environment in their own ways — from the use of natural resources, to energy consumption, to batteries and hazardous waste. But with the right paper and the right choices, it is possible to communicate efficiently, and responsibly. So, should you print this web page? (We’ll leave this one up to you.)