Un-earth; Your Green Savings

by Laura


In honor of Earth Day (April 22) here is a tip on how to calculate your “green” savings… environmental green that is. The Paper Calculator, originally developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and transferred to the Environmental Paper Network, lets you compare various paper types to see the impact each one has on the environment. In order to use the calculator you need to know the grade of the papers you are comparing (coated, uncoated, groundwood, etc.), the % of recycled content found in each, and the tons/pounds/kilograms that you would use of each stock.

The table below shows a few of the different environmental savings computed by the Paper Calculator when choosing a comparable uncoated stock that contains 30% post-consumer waste (PCW) over an uncoated stock that contains 0% PCW. This example is based on a printing of 5,000 copies of a 400 page count, 6×9, notch paper book. As stated above, you need to know the total weight of the paper that you will be using before performing the calculations. In this case the stock containing 0% PCW requires 8,192 pounds of paper to produce this job and the stock containing 30% PCW requires 8,355 pounds of paper. If you are unsure of how many pounds of paper it takes to produce your title, your printer can provide you with this information as long as you let them know the run length, paper stock, trim size, page count, and bind style.


60# House White


8,192 pounds,0% PCW

60# House White Recycled

8,355 pounds,30% PCW

Environmental Savings

Wood Use

15 tons = 106 trees

11 tons = 76 trees

4 tons = 30 trees

Net Energy

132 million BTU’s1

122 million BTU’s

10 million BTU’s

Greenhouse Gases

24,669 pounds CO2 equiv.2

21,868 pounds CO2 equiv.

2,801 pounds CO2 equiv.

Hazardous Air Pollutants3

11 pounds

9 pounds

2 pounds


91,008 gallons

77,972 gallons

13,036 gallons

Solid Waste

7,872 pounds

7,087 pounds

785 pounds

Of course, this example shows the environmental savings for just one printing of this title. Now consider all your titles and how many times they reprint, when you do that calculation, the environmental savings can be staggering.

At Sheridan Books we recognize the critical nature of environmental issues and take extensive precautions to protect our natural resources. When procuring paper for Sheridan Books, we seek mills that practice environmentally appropriate forest management to ensure that the harvest of timber and non-timber products maintains the forest’s biodiversity, productivity, and ecological processes. By considering alternative paper choices that include post-consumer waste you too can help play a part in reducing the carbon footprint the printing industry has on the environment.

Perform your own calculations at:

Several paper companies have their own environmental calculators on their website where you can perform similar calculations. Here are links to a few: Mohwak, Neehah.

1BTU (British Thermal Unit) – The average U.S. household uses 91 million BTU’s of energy in a year.

2The average car emits 11,013 pounds of CO2 in a year.

3 Hazardous Air Pollutants are any of a group of 188 substances identified in the 1990 Clear Air Act.