Just another silly “Save Trees. Print only when necessary” email signature?

20 11 2007


Video: UNEP – Amazon Deforestation in Google EarthA greenprinteronline.com dispatch.
We’ve become a letter-writing society.Sure, our 16th century relatives may have written and sent a couple of hand-written letters to their loved ones via “dove” (the bird, not the soap brand), it’s us that have set the bar for most letters – electronic ones – sent in world history.

In fact, it’s estimated that 97 billion e-mails whisk through cyberspace every day. And according to GreenPrint Technologies, despite 20th century predictions of a paperless office, Americans use enough sheets every year to build a 10-foot-high wall that would stretch from New York to Tokyo and beyond.

That’s a lot of paper – and trees.

So, when I first started noticing friends and co-workers using the “Save Trees. Print only when necessary” in their email signature, I thought “cool, corporates are catching on to the green thing”.

But not so fast. According to today’s Los Angeles Times article, not all suits are ready for the simplicity of the “save trees by not printing off all your emails” message.

Apparently, the email tip, which spread like a virus via Treehugger.com, came across as “an empty, greener-than-thou finger wag” to some.

Case in point:

Rob Guglielmetti, a lighting designer, blogger and committed, ride-his-bike-to-work-every-day environmentalist, said as much to his boss a few months ago when the supervisor suggested using the enviro-missive on all outgoing company e-mails.

“People get this kind of smug satisfaction about how green they are — ‘Hey, look at me, look at how great we are, we as a company are trying to teach you about sustainability and saving trees and saving the planet,’ ” said Guglielmetti, who lives in Boulder, Colo.

On his blog, Rumblestrip.org, Guglielmetti offered a sarcastic list of alternative green e-mail signatures, including, “Printing this message kills trees. Print is murder!”

I agree that Guglielmetti is an exception and has a point about corporates who “greenwash”. But, most businesses genuinely want to lead by example and they see value in reducing the amount of paper they use and using recycled, tree-friendly and toxin-free paper whenever possible.

Still, as history would have it (especially in the decade long, PR-funded spin behind the “is climate change real or not?” debate), there are nay-sayers who want to slow down common sense action. “Guglielmettis” of corporate America, over to you.

Green Printer (GP) is an eco-friendly printing company that’s not shy to tell you to print less in order to save trees – and the planet. GP offers a variety of tree-friendly paper and works closely with and buys from paper mills that run on clean energy and use offsets. What’s more, we’ve also got a funky Eco Calculator that shows you how many trees – and energy – you’ve saved with each order. Pretty nifty.


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2 responses to “Just another silly “Save Trees. Print only when necessary” email signature?”

11 12 2008
Adam (22:03:05) :

I think it is important to print only what we need. This seems important especially when ink and toner cartridges are so expensive!

23 03 2010
John (12:20:35) :

Its all about money, publishers and retailers make more money when the book is in an electronic format. Electronic books have their advantages, but they do more harm to the environment then printed books. Around 10%-30% greater impact. “M Enroth, Environmental impact of printed and electronic teaching aids. Vol 36 2009” And paper comes from a renewable resource – Trees.
Every day the paper and forest products industry plants more than three times the number of trees than are harvested — paper is truly renewable and sustainable.
Electronic devices are typically made of plastics and other non-renewable resources and often contain chemicals and metals.

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