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Your environmental email footers may be false

False email footers
St Austell Printing Company - investigating the truth behind environmental messages in your email footer; 'Think before you print'

Do you use email footers such as ‘Think before you print’? Have you received an email with the message ‘Do you really need to print this email it will harm the environment’?

These email sign-offs are in fact misleading, not to mention unfairly damaging to the print and paper industries.

They imply electronic communication always has a lower impact on the environment than printed materials. This isn’t true.

If you use these messages or are thinking of using them, it’s worth checking the facts first:

  • Paper comes from a renewable resource; it is recyclable; it is one of the most recycled commodities in Europe.
  • A large portion of the energy used to produce paper comes from renewable biomass.
  • An electronic attachment, such as an invoice, sent via the internet releases 242 grams of CO2 – the same amount as producing and sending 15 paper versions.
  • Emails are not carbon free. 20 emails per day for 1 year emit as much CO2 as 1,000km by car.
  • Each year spam emails emit as much CO2 as 3.1 million cars.
  • 18% of electronic equipment is recycled, in Europe 73% of paper is recycled.

Paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and consumed, is an environmentally sustainable media.

  • Paper can be recycled 7 times.
  • 93% of our paper comes from Europe where there is no shortage of trees.
  • European forests supplying the paper industry have grown by 30% since 1950 – increasing at a rate of 1.5 million football pitches every year.

If you’re considering your company email footer strategy, here are some alternative, factually correct messages to choose from:

  1. Printed emails create a permanent and sustainable record but please ensure all waste paper is recycled. Print and Paper is Renewable, Recyclable and Powerful. Visit for more information.
  2. Print on paper is a practical, attractive, and sustainable communications medium. If you print, please recycle.
  3. Thanks to sustainable production of paper and other forest products, the number of trees in Europe has increased by 30% in the past 50 years.
  4. Paper production supports sustainable forest management. If you print, please recycle.
  5. It’s OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, compostable, renewable, a sustainable product made from trees. Sustainable forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage.

To read more about our sustainable industry please see:

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