Australia’s major newspaper and magazine publishers started working together on environmental issues in June 1990, forming an organisation dedicated to advance newspaper recycling.
Decades later, the publishing industry continues this work through The Newspaper Works, and a new body, the Environment Advisory Group.
The members of the Environment Advisory Group are:
The Environment Advisory Group works closely in Australia with newsprint manufacturer Norske Skog to develop five-year environment sustainability plans, the National Environmental Sustainability Agreement (NESA).
The NESA is a voluntary industry agreement endorsed by state and federal governments. It spans across multiple sectors and industry, committing vertically integrated partners to advance newspaper and magazine recycling. It is the only agreement of its kind in the world.
Responsibly producing newspapers means using less energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a large industry player, Norske Skog recognises its responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, Norske established its goal of achieving 25 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, compared with emissions in 2006. As of 2013, emissions were 27 per cent lower than in 2006.
At Norske Skog’s Albury Mill in NSW, 1,260kg of carbon dioxide is emitted to make a tonne of newsprint from wood fibre. The emissions arising from recycled paper are 746kg – which is 59 per cent of that for virgin material.
Of course, recycling also achieves savings in natural resource. A tonne of wood fibre can be reused many times; about six times in some instances when recycling systems are in place.
Using fewer chemicals, and non-toxic chemicals, is also important in the production of sustainably-made newsprint. To this end, brightening of newsprint is achieved through the use of hydrogen peroxide. No chlorine is used in the newsprint manufacturing process in Australia.
Even the waste from the de-inking plant that recycles newspapers has been considered in the quest to achieve responsibly sustainable manufacturing. Waste ink removed from newspapers in the de-inking process are used by farms around the Albury mill as a valuable soil conditioner.
Learn more about sustainability in the industry in the video below: