BY MEGAN TOMPKINS
LAGUNA HILLS, CA—Come January, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News will look a little greener. BRAIN will reduce its environmental impact by switching from virgin paper to recycled paper for its 18 annual print editions. It also will save paper by moving to a smaller trim size.
BRAIN’s new paper has minimum 85 percent recycled content, and could include up to 100 percent recycled fiber. Of that, 20 to 30 percent is post-consumer waste recovered from consumer recycling efforts. The remaining percentage is either print overruns or copies that did not sell on the newsstands.
“Either way we are directing product that would have gone to a landfill and using it to make more paper,” said Bill Crane, director of marketing for Myllykoski NA, the paper manufacturer.
Frank Locantore, director of Co-Op America’s Magazine Paper Project, which helps the magazine industry reduce its impact on the environment, gave the paper high marks among ecopapers currently available.
“I would put that in the top tier,” Locantore said. “The level of recycled content is important, but even beyond that, the mill that it comes from is important.”
Myllykoski, a Finnish paper company, produces the paper at a mill 12 miles outside of Chicago in Alsip, Illinois. Its location enables it to recover a significant amount of paper from the greater Chicago area, reducing transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Why a lot of us in the environmental community like that mill is because transportation of recovered paper from Chicago to that mill is a much smaller transportation drive than if the mill was located out in the forestlands,” Locantore said.
Greg Steil, BRAIN’s account executive at Conley Printing, offered the Myllykoski stock as an option at BRAIN’s request. While recycled paper has been available, Steil said growing interest has encouraged mills to increase production and invest in recycled processes.
“We think the technology has gotten to the point with recycled stock that it doesn’t have the problems people viewed five to six years ago. They’ve come a long way with how they make it at the mill.”
Steil said Conley is looking for other ways to help its customers be environmentally sensitive. He said one of the first things Conley looked at almost 10 years ago was soy-based ink. “We were one of the first printers to get into soy-based inks and try to limit petroleum-based ink use,” Steil said.
BRAIN has been and will continue to be printed with soy-based ink. The magazine also will move to a smaller trim size, which readers may recognize as the same as VeloNews. By shaving an inch off its current height, BRAIN will reduce paper and curb postal rates.
“Numerous postal increases have forced magazines to look at other ways to control costs. They’ve tried to strike a compromise between still having the impact of a tabloid, but saving on postage,” Steil said.
Some compromise may also be inherent in moving to recycled paper. BRAIN’s paper, My Connection Satin, is a bright, glossy 45-pound sheet. However, it is porous and dark ads and images may be visible on the back of a page. Conley ran some sample layouts from BRAIN’s October issue on the new paper.
“From our perspective, it prints fine,” Steil said. “We don’t see any major problems at all from a printing standpoint. It’s a very nice paper.”
Advertisers who saw the samples also were pleased with the print quality and felt minor compromises were compensated for by the contribution to the environment.
“If I were reading my own ad on wood chips, it’d be worth the compromise,” said Chris Zigmont, general manager of Pedro’s. “More is communicated through your ad when it’s printed on recycled. It shows you and your publishing partner care.”
BRAIN’s decision to move to recycled paper is in line with the NBDA’s Think Green initiative. The NBDA licenses the magazine from Nielsen Business Media.
“We’re urging ourselves and BRAIN to try to bring our business practices in line with the environmental friendliness of riding a bike,” said Fred Clements, executive director of the NBDA. “If we can make a good business decision and be environmentally friendly, we’re on the right track.”