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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

All That Glitters is Not Green


Natural Awakenings of Brevard and Indian River counties is among a growing group of local and national magazines actively pursuing the aim of sustainable publishing. Cutting-edge publishers like Mother Jones and Sierra are busting the myth that a high quality magazine must be glossy, by using Earth-friendly papers and processes.

“Our local vision aligns with that of our parent company—to become a role model in the industry, to support healthy living both through our content and the way we do business,” says Publisher Kris Urquhart.

The magazine uses 90 to 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and soy-based ink on uncoated stock. “We all pay an environmental price for old-school glossy technology, so going green is the obvious choice,” she says.

According to nonprofit Co-Op America, more than 90 percent of printing and writing paper still comes from virgin trees, and magazines combine both softwood and hardwood fibers for strength and flexibility.

Glossy paper is made by adding a coating of clay to the surface (that’s why magazines seem so heavy) and the UV treatment required as a sealer uses tremendous amounts of electricity. The paper is also harder to recycle, because it gums up the works and contaminates other, non-coated paper. Even non-coated “brighter” paper is dosed with toxic chemicals to achieve whiteness.

Petroleum-based printing inks not only release toxins into the atmosphere, they often use poisonous heavy metals that contaminate our soil and groundwater. Soy-based inks, in use since the 1960s, are our answer. We’re not advising you to actually eat this magazine; we’re just saying that it won’t kill you if you do