Rolling Stone 'green issue' cannot be recycled

The ‘in’word in the American press at the moment is green. Newspapers and magazines are all rushing to produce issues devoted to the subject of global warming and what can be done about it. How to go green is the theme.

But some are having problems. The magazine Rolling Stone, for example, is putting out a special ‘green issue”: at the end of the month. In addition to the requisite interview with former Vice President Al Gore, who is spearheading the ‘green campaign’in the US and environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jnr, the magazine will start printing on a paper that is considered environmentally safe.

It is using what is called ‘carbon neutral paper’because it is made by a process that is claimed adds no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It is very much thinner than the paper the magazine normally uses and is made at a Canadian mill that claims to have reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 80 per cent since 2005.

All well and good, but what Rolling Stone fails to mention is that the paper is non-recyclable. Which means that one of the aims of the organisations trying to clean up the climate by increasing the use of recyclable material is not being achieved..

‘All the evidence shows that the greatest ecological and social benefits come from using recycled paper’says a spokesman Frank Lacontore of a non-profit group that is working with publishers to reduce paper use.

The problem for Rolling Stone and publications like it is that pictures don’t reproduce well on recycled paper. Nevertheless some publications that use a lot of pictures are giving recycled paper a try.

Hearst Magazines, which publishes 10 magazines in the US, including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire and O, the Oprah Magazine, from next month will carry a ‘Please Recycle This Magazine’on their covers. But whether all the magazines will be using recyclable paper – and if so for how long – is still a question.

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