Submitted: The Two Sides Team June 14, 2012
In the last three days, it seems, nearly every leading commentator on the U.S. printing industry has spoken out against Toshibas ill-conceived National No-Print Day.
Words like boycott, hypocrites, and what were they thinking? keep popping up in various articles, comments, LinkedIn discussions, and tweets about the giant corporations clumsy campaign. Toshibas Hatchet Job was the headline on Richard Romanos Going Green blog for WhatTheyThink.com, which analyzed Dead Tree Edition’s June 10 article,10 Questions About Toshiba’s No-Print Day.
Doesnt Toshiba manufacture print production machines? wrote Heidi Tolliver-Walker of The Digital Nirvana. This would almost be comical if Toshiba werent embarking upon a national ad campaign to promote the idea.
I declare 10/23 is ALSO National Toss Your Toshiba Day, commented Deborah Corn, chief operations officer of PrintMediaCentr and founder of the 37,000+-member Print Production Professionals group on LinkedIn.
“Wonder how many printers have Toshiba equipment. Might be time to turn in your lease,” Dr. Joe (WhatTheyThink.com economist Joe Webb), tweeted today. Yesterday’s gem of a tweet: “Toshiba? ‘This situation requires a really futile&stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part! We’re just the guys 2 do it’- Animal House”.
Printing is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprintall other media require energy every time they are viewed. Electronic devices, which Toshiba produces, for example, require the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals, as well as the use of plastics, hydrocarbon solvents, and other non-renewable resources, pointed out Michael Makin, President and CEO of Printing Industries of America. Moreover 5080 percent of electronic waste collected for recycling is shipped overseas and is often unsafely dismantled. For Toshiba to call for such a ban on printing is hypocritical to say the least.
Overall, besides some hefty greenwashing it sounds to me like they are shooting themselves in the foot, wrote Sabine Lenz, founder of PaperSpecsand a vocal proponent of using environmentally friendly paper. Exhibiting at DRUPA but badmouthing paper? Which brings up the question, should Starbucks give the coffee beans a day off?
Toshiba seems to have ignored the environmental impact of electronic communications. Just saying you are eliminating print and paper really does not mean you are necessarily helping the planet, wrote the advocacy group Two Sides in challenging Toshibas claims. Have Toshiba considered the life cycle of all their own products before professing expertise on others?
Publishing industry pundit (and former press operator) BoSacks thinks the printing industry bears some of the blame: Our industry has never put forth the full effort to explain itself. If it did, it did it as poorly as Toshiba. The public thinks we cut down virgin forests. That is the real issue here tree farming, renewable industry. We are tree savers, not tree murderers.