By Grace Dean for Business Insider US

Local residents have blamed bitcoin mining for heating up the largest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, with one saying it’s “so warm you feel like you’re in a hot tub,” according to a report by NBC News.

Their complaints centre on a gas-fired power plant that’s being used to power at least 8 000 bitcoin mining computers. The plant draws water from Seneca Lake for cooling, then discharges the warmed water back into the lake.

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new bitcoins are created. The mining is done by specialised computers that solve complex calculations on behalf of the bitcoin network.

The power plant, Greenidge, which is being closely monitored by the Department of Environmental Conservation, is allowed to suck in 139 million gallons of water and discharge 135 million gallons daily. The discharged water can be as hot as 108 degrees in the summer and 86 degrees in winter, per permit documents viewed by NBC News.

“The lake is so warm you feel like you’re in a hot tub,” said Abi Buddington, who lives near the plant.

Private-equity firm Atlas Holdings bought the disused coal-powered site next to Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, in 2014, and reopened it as a natural gas plant in 2017.

At first the plant only generated energy for the grid when demand was high, but in 2019 Greenidge started using the plant to power bitcoin mining to make higher profits from surplus energy.

Bitcoin mining on computers uses huge amounts of energy. Last month Senator Elizabeth Warren called for a crackdown on cryptocurrencies to fight the climate crisis.

Greenidge has at least 8,000 computers and is considering installing more as it plans to ramp up its bitcoin mining capacity to 45 megawatts by December, reported NBC News.

But this is leading to a huge spike in emissions. Regulatory documents viewed by environmental campaign group Earth Justice show that its carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and nitrous oxide emissions each grew nearly tenfold between January and December 2020 as it ramped up bitcoin mining.

Judith Enck, a former Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, said that New York wouldn’t meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals if Greenidge continued mining bitcoin.

Greenidge CEO Jeff Kirt told NBC News that “the environmental impact of the plant has never been better than it is right now,” and that the facility was operating within its environmental permits. Greenidge said that it would make its operations carbon neutral by buying credits to offset its emissions.

Kirt told CNBC News that the plant has created 31 jobs. It has also donated $25,000 (R350 000) to the Dresden Fire Department and $20,000 (R280 000) to the school district, the outlet reported, and paid $272 000 (R3.8-million) to local authorities in lieu of real property taxes last year, according to an economic study commissioned by Greenidge.

But Peter Mantius, who writes a blog about local environmental politics, said that Greenidge pays “a fraction, maybe a quarter” of what the old owner paid because of a favourable tax assessment arrangement.

Greenidge’s air permit is up for renewal in September, Mandy DeRoche, deputy managing attorney in the coal program at Earth Justice, told NBC News.

“We’ve asked the Department of Environmental Conservation to take a hard look and think about it as a new permit, not just a renewal,” she said.


The future of retail is here

Barrows Global, a leading retail design and manufacturer, has launched the first promotional display fit for a circular economy, the PolyAl unit. Barrows’ challenge was to design a temporary display that could meet the requirements of the dynamic and ever-changing in-store environment, while using resources efficiently and eliminating waste.

Unlike most temporary displays, which are made of corrugated board and plastic with a lifespan of 4-6 weeks, the Barrows’ PolyAl unit addresses wastage by using a permanent upcycled core structure that is regularly recladded with a new brand campaign. The result? A reusable unit that requires up to 90% less corrugated board than traditional temporary displays. PolyAl units are revolutionising physical retail as brands that rent these displays enjoy a 37%[1] carbon saving and up to a 20% cost saving.

The upcycled core

Barrows was approached to find a second life for the material ‘PolyAl’, made from the plastic (polyethylene) and aluminium layers of post-consumer long-life liquid cartons that Tetra Pak and Gayatri Paper Mills are diverting from landfill. After a year of R&D, in partnership with Perspex SA, Barrows was able to manufacture a PolyAl core upcycled from 3500 long-life cartons, hence the name the PolyAl display. This reusable core is customisable with adjustable shelving, allowing for varied product heights and sizes. It is shipped flat-packed to retailers and is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled for end-of-life recycling.

How it all works

Barrows design, manufacture and install the PolyAl displays at zero-cost to the retailer. The core units are asset tracked and Barrows takes responsibility for the maintenance of the units, which are uplifted and recycled into new displays at the end of 24 months.

Brands book space in-store with the retailer and rent the displays from Barrows on a monthly basis. The rental includes cladding design, distribution and installation, and all previous campaign cladding is recycled. Due to a closed-loop supply chain, Barrows ensures a hassle-free, fast and high quality brand activation with zero waste to landfill – leaving brands the time to do what they do best.

PolyAl launched in Dis-Chem

“Retailers own the space that the displays occupy and their buy-in for this concept is critical,” says Joss Myers, MD Barrows Africa. Dis-Chem, a leading South African drug retailer, is the first to adopt the programme. The first 505 PolyAl displays have just been installed in Dis-Chem stores nationwide. These units have diverted 1.8 million long-life cartons from landfill and by the end of the year this number is expected to reach 3.5 million as the programme grows with Dis-Chem. “The response from our store managers and customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Mark Norton, Group Marketing Manager at Dis-Chem. “Freestanding display units are vital to our business, as they are designed to attract consumers and move stock quickly. Not only are the PolyAl displays made from recycled materials, but they are fully recyclable, which aligns with Dis-Chem’s commitment to be more environmentally responsible.” The first brands supporting the programme include the Dis-Chem house brand Greener Living, Unilever’s multibrand Spring Clean, Red Bull and Celltone Skin Care.

Get involved!

“In light of our current environmental crisis, many brands and retailers are becoming increasingly committed to reducing their environmental impact,” explains Jenna Bleloch, Head of Sustainability at Barrows Global. “The PolyAl units are an in-store solution that is consistent with these goals.”

The Barrows’ vision is to divert 35-million long-life cartons from landfill in PolyAl units. This fleet of 10 000 reusable displays is estimated to save 360 tonnes of carbon.


By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

Getting rid of broken or obsolete computer components is not as simple as throwing them in the trash.

In South Africa, the disposal of old electronic equipment like hard drives and batteries is governed by various regulations.

The National Environmental Waste Act of 2008 requires the appropriate disposal of hazardous waste such as batteries that contain chemicals which pose a danger to the environment.

Additionally, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) necessitates the need for enterprises to completely delete any personal data from storage drives to protect employees and clients.

Both businesses and individuals therefore have an obligation to get rid of their old electronic equipment in a responsible manner to ensure the necessary compliance.

To find out more about the lawful destruction and recycling of e-waste, MyBroadband spoke to Desco Electronic Recyclers, E-waste SA, and Computer Scrap Recycling.

Types of goods
The types of electronic products that can be recycled, refurbished, or destroyed may vary from company to company.

Giulio Airaga from Desco Electronic Recyclers said that eligible devices are not limited to the IT industry.

“Anything electronic, with a plug or battery, or anything that has metal content. So the industries can vary, from the financial sector, to legal, to medical, to industrial. We are not limited to IT equipment. It is any kind of device or machine that is powered by electricity,” Airaga said.

Computer Scrap Recycling also listed a myriad of electrical and electronic goods that typically qualify.

These include monitors, laptops, desktop PCs, printers, photocopiers, servers, scanners, PVC cables, motherboards, UPSs, keyboards, and cameras.

Other general household electric appliances include stoves, fridges, washing machines, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, kettles, irons, lawnmowers, drills, grinders, and transformers.

The process
Customers typically have the option of either taking their old goods to a waste depot, or having them picked up from their home or office, said the companies.

Airaga explained that upon delivery to the depot, the materials are weighed before being off-loaded and separated according to predefined waste streams.

During separation, the materials are unpacked and sorted into waste streams for further processing and dismantling.

This is when items are dismantled into “E-Waste fractions” – PC boards, plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass, and PVC cabling.

PC boards are shredded before being sent to refineries for smelting, while the other fractions are provided to specialist downstream vendors for recycling and recovery of secondary resource materials.

E-waste SA’s approach involves the processing of the received equipment, where devices are tested and earmarked for refurbishment, dismantling, and destruction.

From this, a report is generated which will show the status of each device, such as working, faulty, or scrap.

Any qualified e-waste recycler must also provide the customer with a recycling certificate upon completion of the process.

Data destruction
It is essential that any private information contained on storage devices be dealt with appropriately when disposing of e-waste.

Clients must be furnished with another certificate confirming that the correct procedures have been followed to ensure that no data can be salvaged or parts put back into the market for further use.

Desco securely destroys hard drives, magnetic tapes, tablets, cellphones, GPS units, and other devices that may contain sensitive data.

For the destruction of hard drives, the company charges R20 per unit excluding VAT, while the secure destruction of other e-waste is priced at R10 per kg.

Additionally, Computer Scrap Recycling said it removes any logo or indications of previous owners from all devices.

“Tags, company names, and stickers are all removed from the equipment when it arrives at our premises and a code is allocated to the equipment for company records,” the company said.

“All non-working devices are crushed and we make sure that no data or information is leaked during the destruction or refurbishment process.”

For devices that are intended for refurbishment rather than destruction, Computer Scrap Recycling erases all data and wipes drives through low level format and zero format.

Prices and compensation
When it comes to the pricing involved with e-waste recycling, customers may find a range of options available.

To establish the exact compensation or charges for recycling, the goods will need to be assessed by the chosen recycler.

Airaga said that Desco compensates clients for the delivery of e-waste to its door, while it charges for collection if the total weight of the equipment is less than 1,000kg. There can be exceptions to this, however.

“Depending on the type of electronics, if it is less than 1,000kg but the value of the e-waste is higher, we can waive the collection fee,” Airaga said.

Generally, the price list is broad, but at Desco customers can expect household electronic goods delivered to Desco to get R1 in compensation per kg. IT equipment can range from R1 to R8 per kg.

Additionally, components such as RAM, CPUs, or PC Boards can fetch prices from R30 to R2,000 per kg at Desco.

E-Waste SA said it creates a purchase order based on the device report as described in its recycling process above, with a calculated value for the devices which were recovered or assessed.

This is then sent to the customer, who must create an invoice from this purchase order.

Legislative compliance
E-waste recyclers must also comply with the necessary legal requirements under environmental and data laws.

Computer Scrap Recycling and E-waste SA are members of the e-Waste Association of South Africa (Ewasa), a body which was established to develop an e-waste management system back in 2008.

Desco partners with the Southern African E-waste Alliance (SAEWA) and the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), both of which promote and support the responsible management of e-waste.

Airaga explained that the consequences of irresponsible destruction or recycling could be devastating for the environment and humans.

“If these fractions get dumped, their chemicals leach into the ground. They affect the soil and the groundwater underneath it. You can’t plant on this soil, and if you drink the water that comes from the water table where e-waste was dumped you can get poisoned,” Airaga said.

He added that the approach to batteries in particular was important.

“All are hazardous, but lead acid batteries have a recovery value because of the lead, so we can buy them. But lithium-ion (from cellphones or laptops) doesn’t have a recycling solution, therefore, it either goes to a hazardous landfill or gets incinerated.”

The last (plastic) straw

Source: Two Sides 

The scourge of plastic straws is a hot button issue for environmental campaigners, and it won’t be long until they are banned altogether. But what will we use to sip our sangrias? Natalie Stephens, group MD of Optichrome, explains why paper straws are the best alternative.

On the evening of Sunday 10 December, 2017, Natalie Stephens settled down to watch the final episode of Blue Planet II. Along with 14 million other viewers (it was one of the most watched shows of 2017), she was horrified at the footage of marine life being trapped, suffocated and killed by the plastic pollution in the ocean.

“I just love the ocean,” she says. “I spend a lot of time in it, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a turtle pop up next to me while in the ocean in Barbados. Watching that episode of Blue Planet brought me to tears.”

Natalie wasn’t alone. A survey by the BBC showed that 62% of people who saw the episode wanted to make changes in their daily lives to reduce pollution in our oceans. But unlike most people, as the Group Managing Director of print company Optichrome, Natalie was in a position to do something that could make a real difference to the amount of plastic waste.

Straw poll

After the successful decrease in the use of plastic bags, the next government initiative to cut single-use plastic is likely to be straws. The Marine Conservation Society estimates that the UK uses 8.5 billion plastic straws ever year, and they are among the top ten waste items found on British beaches. And like other plastics, they take decades to degrade – some reports estimate that a single plastic straw takes 200 years to break down.

“The UK uses 8.5 billion plastic straws ever year, and they are among the top ten waste items found on British beaches”

“The problem with plastic straws is that yes, you can recycle them, but you need to put them in the right place,” explains Natalie. “And even if they go to a recycling plant, because they are so small, they fall out of the recycling packages and still end up in the ocean.”

The solution is paper straws. Faced with a customer backlash against plastic, over the past six months a number of huge, international companies have announced that they will replace their plastic straws with paper ones. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Pret A Manger, along with hundreds of smaller chains, have all pledged to remove plastic straws from their outlets. This follows the outright banning of plastic straws in a number of major cities around the world and US states, with the UK set to follow suit.

“The government has been threatening to bring in a ban on plastic straws for a long time,” says Natalie. “Theresa May made a speech last year about it and Michael Gove is really backing the initiative. So I think we will be in the situation where plastic straws are banned, which is a situation that a number of states in the US have been in for a while now. The market for paper straws over there has gone crazy.”


Like the packaging industry, this ban on single-use plastics is not only good news for the environment, but good news for the paper and print industry. With the right paper grade and production quality, paper straws are a great alternative to plastic, and as a company with enviable environmental credentials, Paper Straw Group – a division of Optichrome Group – are in an excellent position to grab a slice of the market.

“We are a very environmentally conscious company,” explains Natalie. “We have ISO accreditations and are one of just a few printers in the UK that has EMAS [Eco-Management and Audit Scheme]. The environment has always been extremely important to us as a business, but also important to me personally.”

Having spent years researching the area, the company has finally honed the production of their range of paper straws, straws that are both practical and environmentally friendly.

“This is where our expertise in paper comes in,” explains Natalie. “We source our own paper, so we make sure that we’re producing the strongest straw we possibly can. There’s no coating, and we have researched thoroughly to make sure there are no micro-plastics in the glue. The straws are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable, and leave no footprint whatsoever.”

Right now, Paper Straw Group are in talks with a number of businesses, putting the final details to orders from hundreds of straws to millions. They have the capacity to produce up to two million straws every week, but expect this to increase with the inevitable demand.

“The potential market is huge,” says Natalie. “It’s anywhere that uses straws, so pubs, restaurants, cinemas, high street food and drink chains – anywhere you can buy a drink needs paper straws. It’s also my personal passion and something that fits nicely with the industry we’re already in, as well as the fact that we’re doing something positive for the environment.”

By Lisa Bowman for Metro
Image credit: Wrapt

Last year it was estimated that Brits would throw out 108-million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. That’s a lot of waste.

Even the most well-intentioned of us may be unaware that the wrap we put in recycling isn’t actually recyclable, if it contains plastic, dye, foil, glitter or leftover sticky tape.

Most of us aren’t prepared to hand people unwrapped gifts – where’s the joy in that? – so thankfully there are eco-friendly wrapping routes we can take.

Most of them are so chic they’ll make it look like Pinterest threw up under your tree.

Recycled brown paper
Brown paper is one of your cheapest options, and yet has the most potential to look impressive – you just have to get crafty. You can get recycled brown paper at your local Post Office.
Limited budget/don’t have time to mess about with ribbons and foliage? Make it your own with wooden stamps.

Go DIY with old fabric
Got old Christmas tablecloths lying around the house? Christmas tea towels? Feel like making the most of the kitsch Christmas patterns in your local fabric shop? Wrap your presents in it!

Secure it by tying a knot as a bow, or by using eco twine or cut-up fabric as ribbon. Just ensure you get the fabric back to use again if the recipient doesn’t plan to use it.

Reusable fabric gift bags/bottle bags
Gift bags and bottle bags are such a waste – as soon as the gift’s been taken out, they’re usually chucked in the rubbish.
Did you know you can buy reusable fabric versions?
Sure, they’re expensive, but they’re made from 45% recycled fabric, and the maker promises that they’re durable enough to last a lifetime.
You just need to make sure you gift them to someone who’ll actualy re-use them.

Use magazines or newspaper
Chances are, you’ve got some old newspaper or magazines lying around the house – instead of chucking these straight in your recycling bin, why not give them a detour? A new life as gift wrap?

Obviously make sure the stories printed in the publication are, er, appropriate.

Regular wrap – make sure it’s recycled and recyclable
If you’re not into any of the above options, and simply want a more eco version of your usual minimal effort wrapping paper, then all is not lost.

All you have to do is make sure your gift wrap is recycled, and that it’s recyclable. Obviously this option is quite expensive and unless you’re made of money, they’re not likely to be an option for those who have a million kids’ presents to wrap.
So, if all else fails – at least make sure the wrap you use is fully recyclable, if it’s not made from recycled content itself.

Reuse old wrapping paper and gift bags
My mum used to laboriously pick off the sellotape from gifts and save the wrapping paper to use again. As a child, I thought she’d lost her mind but now, I see where she was coming from.
Keep a stash of old wrapping paper and gift/bottle bags, and save up ribbons and bows from gifts throughout the year.
They can cost a lot of money as well as the earth, so you may as well make the most of them!

Don’t forget your decorations
Shun the landfill fodder that is regular plastic ribbon – jazz it up with environmentally-friendly twine instead. Honestly, it looks super twee.
You can even make bows and ribbon out of old newspaper. Go full-on Pinterest by using cinnamon and foraged pine cones/foliage.
If you’re using brown paper, forget gift tags and simply write your message directly on the paper, or make gift
tags out of scrap card.
Plastic sticky tape can’t be recycled, so use an eco version like paper packing tape.
Happy gift wrapping!

By Michael Holder for BusinessGreen

Upcyclers turn old desks, chairs, and carpets into new office furniture, saving money and delivering environmental benefits.

Making sure products and materials can be used again – rather than going to waste – is good for for both businesses and the environment. That is the premise that underpins the concept of the “circular economy”, an emerging sector the government estimates could deliver £23-billionn a year of benefits to UK businesses if resources were used more efficiently.

For example, one third of our office furniture – 300 tonnes per day – ends up in landfill.

Firms such as Rype Office create sustainable furniture from items that would otherwise get thrown away and is employing ‘upcyclers’ across its growing business to help turn the circular economy vision into a reality.

By Maria Dermentzi for Mashable

Plastic Whale is a professional plastic fishing company that offers boat trips during which tourists — while sightseeing — will pick up plastic from Amsterdam’s canals. The plastic bottles that are being collected get turned into office furniture, in collaboration with Vepa.

By Penwell Dlamini for Times Live

If you thought e-tolls were a total nightmare for consumers‚ wait until you read the new regulations that have been proposed by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa).

The Rules for Registration of Small-Scale Embedded Generation‚ the draft consultation paper published last week‚ will require you to register with Nersa before connecting your great portable generator at your home.

The rules apply both to off-grid systems‚ with no connection to the national electricity system‚ and systems connected to the grid in any way – whether or not they are intended to feed electricity back into the grid.

Small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) includes generators‚ solar photo-voltaic panels to track solar ownership benefits and backup generators. Learn more about Artisan Electric if you are planning to install solar panels. It is always good to work with a reputable contractor.

The rules state that no customer may connect to the distribution system (municipality or Eskom) without the following:

  • Submitting an application for registration to Nersa;
  • Receiving a quotation after the application from the distributor‚ paying the required connection charge/fees and signing the required connection and use of system agreement; and
  • Ensuring that the connection and the equipment used are certified to comply with all required technical standards.

Upon receiving the application and conclusion of the customer connection and use-of-system agreement with the distributor‚ the distributor will then send the information to Nersa for registration.

To complicate matters‚ it is only possible to register by way of an electricity distributor – either Eskom or a municipality – even for generators that are not due to be connected to such a distributor’s system.

If you are planning to get a generator for your office use, then I would highly advise you to get the quietest generator available in the market as a single generator should not be the reason your work gets affected in any manner.

The rules apply to all generators of less than 1 megawatt. Above that level‚ the law requires the same sort of licensing as for a full-blown power station.

Eskom or a municipality responsible for distribution also has its own responsibilities‚ which include the following:

  • Providing to the customer non-discriminatory access to its distribution system‚ except if there are objectively justifiable reasons;
  • Ensuring that the connection to the distribution complies with the licence conditions of the distributor‚ grid code and national requirements; and
  • Should the customer want to increase the supply to above 1 megawatts‚ the distributor will redirect the customer to apply to Nersa for a generation licence‚ provided that the distributor agrees with the applicant’s request to increase the supply and exemption has been granted by the Department of Energy.

Nersa said the regulations were aimed at meeting the economic objectives of the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006. The proposals are open for public comment until the end of May.

Day Zero for Cape Town has been pushed back by four days to April 16, 2018, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is crucial progress, and I offer my thanks and congratulations to all residents who have joined in this campaign to Defeat Day Zero with such commitment. Their efforts have shown fruit. We have started to push back Day Zero, and we can defeat it altogether if we keep going.”

According to the latest data, dam levels for Cape Town are 26.3% as at January 29, 2018, from 26.6% at January 26, 2018.

The average daily water production of all water sources is at 580 ml/d compared to the target of 450ml/d.

Check out News24’s special report on the water crisis

“This is great progress, but to truly Defeat Day Zero, we need to aim to cut consumption to 450 million litres a day,” said Maimane.

If Day Zero does arrives taps will be cut off, except in the CBD and commercial and industrial zones.

“Pushing back Day Zero by 4 days may not seem like a lot. But actually it is a significant victory. It shows that residents are coming together and cutting water consumption,” said Maimane.

The DA leader also announced that the City secured an additional 67 million litres a day for a period of approximately 60 days, commencing in early February.

This is part of the 120 million litre augmentation which we announced last week.

“Last week we expected this additional capacity to only come online by May, but now more than half will be available from early February. This speeding-up of water augmentation will help us greatly to Defeat Day Zero.”

Meanwhile, retailers are cashing in as panic-stricken Capetonians are buying bottled water in bulk.

Have a look at this infographic prepared by Digest to help people decide what they need potable water for and to manage it within their budget.

Purchasing water at R23 (currently the higher end of what Capetonians are forking out in the city) could see residents up spending about R20 000 on water for the next three months, according to Digest estimates.

What will happen when Day Zero arrives?

  • One week before the six dams providing water to the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) are collectively expected to drop to 13.5%, the City will announce the date on which almost all the taps in Cape Town’s residential suburbs will be cut off.
  • Surrounding towns which are heavily reliant on these dams (such as Drakenstein, parts of Stellenbosch and towns on the West Coast) will likely also be turned off.
  • Municipal water may only be available at 200 Points of Distribution (PoDs) across the City.
  • The maximum allocation will be 25 litres per person per day, distributed on the assumption that an average family comprises four persons.
  • If every family sends one person to fetch their water allocation, about 5,000 people will congregate at each PoD every day.
  • Discussions are underway with SAB and the South African Bureau of Standards to sell water for R1 a quart (similar to a 750ml beer bottle)
  • The City’s Water and Sanitation Department will try to limi the impact on sanitation services to limit the risk of disease.
  • SAPS and the National Defence Force are being consulted to help maintain law and order with Law Enforcement at collection point.

Source: Cape Argus, CBN and News24 

Two Sides, the global initiative to promote the sustainability of print and paper, has reported a 61% success rate in persuading global organisations to remove misleading green claims from their communications as part of its worldwide anti-greenwash campaign.

601 of the world’s leading corporations, including banks, utilities, telecoms and insurance companies have been researched and checked by Two Sides, exposing 460 of those companies to be using misleading greenwash statements in their marketing and communications activities. To date, 278 of those offending companies have removed their misleading greenwash statements as a direct result of ongoing engagement by the Two Sides initiative.

Says Martyn Eustace, Chairman of Two Sides, “We’re really pleased that the ongoing efforts and lobbying of Two Sides is having such a significant effect on some of the world’s largest and most influential organisations. But there is no room for complacency, and there is still a great deal of work to do tackling the remaining companies that continue to mislead their customers.”

Major global corporations are still using inaccurate and misleading environmental claims to encourage consumers to ‘go paperless’ and switch from paper-based to digital communication. This is despite legislation being introduced by the advertising standards authorities in many countries to protect the consumer from being misled.“It’s extremely frustrating and unacceptable,” continues Eustace.

“Marketers in some of the world’s most high-profile corporations are resorting to unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims to persuade consumers to switch from paper-based to cheaper electronic communication. Many consumers still have a strong preference for paper but they are being manipulated by a lack of clear and accurate information when in fact paper, based on a natural, renewable and recyclable resource, should be considered as a highly sustainable way to communicate.”

The worldwide Two Sides teams have maintained a ruthless determination to tackle greenwash in their respective countries with their ongoing activities paying dividends in the global anti-greenwash campaign. North America Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America, comments, “Over 88 major corporations, including many of the Fortune 100, have now changed or removed misleading environmental claims about print and paper to comply with country-specific environmental marketing guidelines. Our discussions with Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Sustainability Officers and others, have been very productive and we are pleased with the collaboration of America’s leading organizations. Thanks to an overall better understanding of the unique sustainable features of paper products, “go green – go paperless” and “save a tree” claims are gradually disappearing from the marketplace.”

Kellie Northwood, Executive Director, Two Sides, Australia and New Zealand, comments, “It is our responsibility as an industry, but also as part of broader environmental education that is important for everyone, not just for a associate environmental professional, to challenge misinformation about the impact of communication channels. Greenwashing is one of the greatest threats to being truly sustainable and we work very hard to ensure companies making the wrong claims correct their communications. Of the companies we have contacted, 73% have altered their anti-print messaging, and the remaining we continue to engage with.”

“This year Two Sides Brazil has chosen the fight against greenwashing as a number one priority,” says Fabio Arruda Mortara, Country Manager for Two Sides in Brazil. Reaching an agreement with the Justice Tribunal of São Paulo, towards the withdrawal of the non-reliable contents of their printing manual, was probably our best achievement in 2017.

Brazil has just become the second largest pulp producer in the world, which makes the challenge to clarify our position, even more important. “In Brazil, the latest statistics show that net forest land area has increased substantially in the past 20 years”, adds Mortara.

Everyone in the world has the right to know that print and paper are not hostile to the environment and add immense value to our civilization.”
Deon Joubert, Executive Director, Two Sides South Africa, adds, “We continue to engage with corporates and government institutions regarding their environmental messaging to their customers and citizens. There remains a concern that conventional wisdom linking the use of paper to the destruction of forests remains prevalent and unchallenged. Not only are plantation trees grown to be harvested, just like any crop, these plantations provide commercial and surprisingly good environmental benefits to our world. In addition, in a recent Toluna research project conducted in South Africa, 92% of consumers want to be able to choose how they receive communication from corporates and government.”

Isabel Riveros, Executive Director, Two Sides in Colombia, comments, “During the first year of the campaign, we were able to make the Government remove any mention of ‘zero paper’ from their National Development Plan for the next four years. However, the big challenge continues. We must contact every company that is using greenwash, and make them understand that the process of paper production is a sustainable one.”

Jonathan Tame, Country Manager, Two Sides UK, adds, “We have a very active campaign to research and remove Greenwash in the UK, with a very encouraging response. 83% of all companies we have engaged have agreed to remove misleading messages and in many cases, we have helped organisations amend their marketing communication guidelines.” Eustace continues, “Consumers should not be misled and encouraged to go ‘paperless’ through the use of misleading ‘green’ marketing. The true picture of the excellent environmental benefits of paper is being overlooked by these false messages. Paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and used, can be a sustainable way to communicate. The forest and paper industries rely on sustainable forests and they are major guardians of this precious and growing resource.”

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