Print vs. Digital Media: False Dilemmas and Forced Choices

A heightened sense of awareness about the environment has developed in recent years. In particular, feelings of guilt and concern are on the rise about the use of paper and its alleged impact on the fate of trees, forests and the environment. Are these feelings justified?

The False dilemma is:

By using paper to print your email or by receiving paper bills you are knowingly degrading the environment, destroying forests and/or killing trees.

The forced choice is:

Eliminate your use of paper or feel like a guilty hypocrite.

This is the first in a series of reports that will address these issues and explore questions like:

  • What is the state of the world’s environment and its forests? Are they truly in danger?
  • Is our growing reliance on digital information technology and electronic media sustainable?
  • What are some of the real environmental impacts associated with print and digital media?
  • What is life-cycle analysis and how can it be used to inform our decisions?
  • What are some of the current limitations of life-cycle analysis and eco-labeling?
  • What are some of the steps being taken by industry and government to discourage “green-wash” and reduce the negative impacts of print and digital media supply chains?
  • Where can you learn more about how to employ print and digital media responsibly and feel OK about your choices?

View Report (PDF)