Life Cycle Assessment on National Geographic Magazine's Paper

Wood logs in a pile
Photo by Aleksandar Radovanovic on Unsplash

The National Geographic Society began using recycled paper in their publications, thanks to a collaboration with Green America’s Better Paper Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In 2013, Green America and NRDC joined with National Geographic on the most rigorous study to date of the benefits of using recycled fiber versus virgin fiber in magazine publications. Conducted by Environ International Corporation, an independent third-party for National Geographic, the study found that recycled fiber is superior to virgin fiber in 14 out of 14 environmental categories, such as energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, the groups have been working together to develop a plan to incorporate recycled content into the pages of the National Geographic magazines. 

Read the full Life Cycle Assessment of Deinked and Virgin Pulp for National Geographic Magazine here.

National Geographic’s use of recycled paper in their magazines demonstrates that publications with world-class photography can use recycled paper without any compromise on quality. That means there are no excuses for any publishers to use virgin-fiber paper any longer.

The National Geographic Society has committed to using as much recycled paper in their magazines as possible. Their initial switch to paper with five percent post-consumer recycled content will:

  • Lower their wood use by an equivalent of 26,000 trees.
  • Use less energy – the savings equivalent to approximately 145 homes.
  • Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 238 fewer cars each year.
  • Lower their annual water consumption by about 19 Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • Reduce their solid waste generation by about 33 fewer garbage trucks.