FutureMark Paper customers include Old Navy, Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine, and Anthropologie. Image courtesy of futuremarkpapers.com.
Guest bloggers Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer are co-founders of NaturallySavvy.com.
We all have our favorite magazines. For some it's Vogue, for others, Mother Jones. But eco-aware readers often struggle with a conscience that tells us that there's a lot of wasted paper in the media industry. And most of the paper that magazines use is predominantly virgin -- meaning it has a very low recycled content (if any at all). And FSC-certified sounds good on paper, but it takes a few years for the saplings (planted to replace logged trees) to catch up to the carbon-capturing power of mature trees.
That's where FutureMark Paper comes in. The Alsip, Illinois-based recycled paper manufacturer is trying to change the way publishers think about recycled coated mechanical paper -- glossy paper used for magazines.FutureMark Paper is producing an 85 percent recycled fiber paper -- including 30 percent post-consumer waste -- that is suitable for high-quality glossy publications, and some publishers and corporations are making the switch.
Eco-Benefits of FutureMark Paper
As if a high recycled content wasn't enough, FutureMark Paper has other environmental benefits, too. The recycled content reduces landfill waste by diverting paper for recycling. It uses just 40 percent of the energy and 60 percent of the water that is consumed by an average paper mill to produce the same amount of paper from trees.
More recently, FutureMark also switched from a petroleum-based latex coating to a sustainable binding compound made from corn starch.
By-product is an Agricultural Lime Alternative
Part of what FutureMark does is collect a lot of paper, which they "wash" in order to separate fibers, inks, fillers and coating materials. The fibers are used to make FutureMark Paper, but the extracted materials -- which total 30,000 tons each year -- are calcium-rich and the nutritive properties are similar to agricultural lime, which is used as a fertilizer supplement.
Not only is FutureMark producing a paper product that saves mature trees and is gentler on the planet, the by-product of their manufacturing is useful and it reduces the demand for limestone mining.
Here's hoping more publishers take a look at this eco-friendly alternative that gives conventional glossy papers a run for their money.