Every few years, we rebid the printing and mailing of Oceanography to obtain the best available price and service. During this process, we review shipping methods, timeliness of mailing, printer responsiveness—and, significantly, the paper we use. As a result of our latest review, Oceanography will now be printed on a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper (see http://www.fscus.org). In a nutshell, FSC standards ensure that forestry is practiced in an “environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable” way. For a paper to be FSC-certified, the FSC must be able to verify the chain of custody from forest to paper.
Fifty percent of our new paper comes from FSC-certified virgin forest, 25% from pre-consumer waste (e.g., trimmings at the mill), and 25% from post-consumer waste (e.g., the paper you put in the blue recycling bins at the office). The obvious follow-up question is, why aren’t we going to 100% FSC-certified recycled paper, or at least something close to that? The short answer is that we cannot achieve that goal and still publish the magazine in its current form. At this time, there is no coated paper stock that is 100% recycled. Coated stock (i.e., base paper stock coated with smooth clay or latex) can withstand the rigors of offset presses, which are used for big jobs such as this magazine, books, brochures, and catalogs. Additionally, very few papers that have extremely high recycled content come in the weights that we need for the text pages and the covers. Most 100% recycled paper is lighter in weight, uncoated, and best used in office laser printers. Such paper also lacks sufficient opacity to minimize the show-through from two-sided printing.
We will continue to monitor the list of FSC-certified papers. When a product with more recycled content becomes available that meets our needs, we will make the switch as soon as possible.
—Ellen S. Kappel, Editor