A Perspective on Newspapers and the Environment in Ireland

 
 

The past decade has seen Ireland adopt a new attitude towards waste management. In every walk of life it is now acknowledged that, for the sake of future generations, we must think and act in an environmentally friendly way. Recycling is central to the environmental revolution.

And in a country that has a very high newspaper readership rate, newsprint is an important part of the recycling chain. NewsBrands Ireland has a vital role to play in this.

WASTE PREVENTION

In any waste management system, preventing waste is just as important as recycling it.

By carefully managing the system by which old newspapers are collected, processed and recycled there is an opportunity to reduce the amount of old newsprint that goes into landfill.

This is vital, as targets have been set to reduce the proportion of biodegradable municipal waste that can be landfilled.

A CULTURE CHANGE

In addition to the steps already being taken by the newspaper industry, there is also an educational challenge. Recycling requires cooperation between organisations and individuals; it cannot work otherwise. Newspapers can help to bring about this culture change through public information campaigns, free advertising and other promotions.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Of course, it’s not all about the publishers.

There are many links in the ‘paper chain’, from the producers of newsprint to the newspaper publishers, from distributors to retailers, local authorities to collectors and of course the consumer for whom the daily newspaper is an essential part of life.

Everyone has a part to play.

WHAT NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ARE DOING

  1. Making change happen: In January 2007 NewsBrands Ireland appointed the industry’s first Environmental Officer.  This reflected a willingness to invest in the environment and a determination to maximise the amount of newsprint that gets recycled. Top priorities included the establishment of a national press industry environment bureau and the development of an effective Producer Responsibility Initiative for the industry.
  2. Buying recycled newsprint: By buying recycled newsprint (currently more than 52% and rising), Irish publishers ensure that there is a constant demand for recovered paper. Thus gives waste paper a commercial value, making it a sustainable market.
  3. Cutting down on waste: Large scale investment in new printing technology has enabled newspaper publishers to minimise and recycle production waste (e.g. ‘trimmings’, end of reels, less ink intake etc). Since 2000 publishers have spent over €200 million on new systems and technology, and most printing plants have introduced measures that conserve water and power, thereby reducing carbon emissions.
  4. Recycling old newspapers: At present, more than 95% of unsold newspapers are recycled. The industry, in conjunction with distributors, developed a system to collect unsold newspapers at retail level. This has been of huge benefit to retailers and has ensured that the supply chain for newspapers has become much more efficient thus reducing the carbon footprint of the industry.To date, more than 70,000 metric tonnes of newsprint waste has been diverted from landfill thanks to this initiative.
  5. Changing minds: Through advertising and editorial space, newspapers are in a unique position to encourage consumers to be responsible and recycle their own newspapers.