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Toshiba Abandons National No-Print Day Initiative

In an effort to raise awareness about the impact printing has on the planet, Toshiba America called for individuals and companies to take part in National No-Print Day on Oct. 23. But pressure from the Printing Industries of America, its members and the printing industry forced the company to abandon its plans.

The PIA found the concept insulting to the more than 800,000 Americans whose livelihoods depend on the printing industry, said Michael Makin, the PIA’s president and CEO. He called the initiative misguided and “hypocritical.”

After meeting with Bill Melo, Toshiba USA’s senior vice president of marketing, services and solutions, Makin reported that Melo was quite “concerned” with how the campaign had been received by the commercial printing industry, stressing it was never the intent to disenfranchise or insult the printing industry.

“He explained the campaign was always directed at the office marketplace, where he opined there was needless waste,” Makin said, adding the campaign should have been more specific.

Toshiba USA decided to revise the plan and assured Makin the original promotion on its website had been removed. Any re-launch of a campaign directed at office waste will “explicitly explain that this is in no way references the legitimate commercial printing industry and its importance to the American economy,” Makin said.

After Toshiba launched the original campaign, Makin encouraged the U.S. printing industry to reject it. The campaign was devised to encourage, educate and challenge individuals and companies to commit to one day of “no printing.”

“Toshiba claims that our industry has failed ‘to make the link between printing waste and its negative impacts on our landfills, natural resources and the environment,’ ” Makin said. “Our industry has long led the way utilizing sustainable processes. The primary raw material for printing is paper, which comes from trees, which are renewable resources – so renewable that today, our country has 20 percent more trees than it did on the first Earth Day, which was held more than 40 years ago.”

Unlike electronic devices, print has a one-time carbon footprint, Makin explained. “All other media require energy every time they are viewed. Electronic devices, which Toshiba produces, 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. Moreover, 50-80 percent of electronic waste collected for recycling is shipped overseas and is often unsafely dismantled.”

To overcome misconceptions about the printing industry, the PIA has created a campaign called “The Value of Print.” It includes a flip-book that can be used to dispel myths about the industry. The flip-book has four sections, including Misconceptions, Effectiveness, By the Numbers and Resources, and helps answer common questions with statistics and information on the industry’s large economic footprint.

For more information, visit www.printing.org.