The 5R Project began
with words Julia Butterfly Hill wrote to me on envelopes sent
from Luna. "Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,"
and "It's a Precious Planet," she would scribble on
the reverse side of an envelope I'd sent to her. Then she resealed
it with tiny pieces of tape, and sent her letter back to me.
The 5R Project took form over the weeks following Julia's visit to Maine. We realized that businesses would appreciate some type of incentive or recognition to offset the extra cost of recycled paper, usually about 20% higher than virgin white copier and computer paper. We learned that "recycled" simply means paper made from mill trimmings, and that post-consumer waste content and bleaching were the important factors to consider. Few businesses would switch to paper containing 100% post-consumer waste content, so we decided to set the standard at 30% PCW content, which is readily available. Businesses that wanted to increase their PCW content would be encouraged and provided with sources. The minimum standard of 30% PCW content would be required for use in all computer printers and copiers, the biggest paper wasters in any office. We knew that would be a major change, but we wanted one more.
Even though most households recycle, most businesses do not. Why? Usually, pick up service is not available except to large companies. To recycle, most small businesses must haul their own recyclables to transfer centers, which takes time and money. Therefore, the last 5R commitment to recycle paper, glass, plastic, and tin represents significant change. Some would argue that the pledge isn't enough. We believe those who want to do more will do it. We want to change the status quo, which is 100% virgin bleached paper in computers and copiers, and no recycling. We will target all types of business - from the easy sign-ups (natural food stores) to the tough ones (hospitals). Our targets are the paper intensive doctors' and lawyers' offices, real estate offices...you get the picture.
The goal is to reduce the pressure on the forest while increasing the demand for paper containing post-consumer waste. The 5R Project will compile lists of resources and paper choices, including tree-free options. Our mission is to clearly affect the mainstream small business, not preach to the converted.
Volunteers are wanted! We will give you the materials necessary
to sign up businesses. We will teach you presentation skills
that you can adapt to your own style. A complete win-win presentation
has been developed. For $25 per year, a business will receive
the pledge to hang on their wall, a decal for their door, local
newspaper publicity, and a website link to their business. They
could creatively promote their support of the 5R
Project in many ways. The more people they tell about their
commitment, the better for their public image. Polls show that
people would rather do business with earth friendly companies.
For copier and computer paper try: Recycled Office Products, tel. 207-262-5585, attention Joyce Kravetz, and for tree-free letterhead, copier paper, and heavy stock for brochures, etc. we recommend: Three Mountain Paper, tel. 207-367-5149, attention Drew or Elska.
283 Water Street, 3rd floor, P.O. Box 2118, Augusta, Maine 04338 phone: 207-628-6404 fax - 207-628-5741 email: firstname.lastname@example.org