Why does Natural Awakenings look the way it does? Because we don’t have the glossy, heavy feel of a traditional newsstand magazine, I’ve noticed some readers struggle to find the right words to describe our publication. Booklet, pamphlet, leaflet? (Always preceded by a superlative, of course!) I prefer to think of ourselves as a more evolved magazine.
Our local vision aligns with that of our parent company—to become a role model in the industry, and to support healthy living through both our content and the way we do business. And so, although this is our special Green Living issue, every issue is green.
Natural Awakenings belongs to a growing group of local and national magazines actively pursuing sustainable publishing. Cutting-edge publications like Mother Jones magazine, Utne Reader, Ms., Discover, and Sierra started using earthfriendly papers and processes long ago and have dispelled the myth that a highquality magazine must be glossy. Natural Awakenings has never been printed on anything other than uncoated, recycled paper and with earth- and human-friendly inks.
We’re concerned that the world’s forests are disappearing at an alarming rate because of pulp and paper production. The use of recycled paper can be the number-one step in reducing a magazine’s ecological footprint. We therefore strive to use between 90 and 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
Printing on traditional glossy paper is also a poor environmental choice. 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 to seal the coating uses a lot of electricity. Coated paper is also harder to recycle because the clay must be removed and can result in low-grade recycled paper. So, it’s uncoated for Natural Awakenings.
Inks too can leave a “black mark” on the environment. Petroleum-based printing inks not only release toxins into the atmosphere, but they also often use poisonous heavy metals that contaminate our soil and groundwater. Soy-, linseedand corn oil-based inks are one answer. Thanks to our friends at TN Printing, we use only soy-based ink.
Help us keep Natural Awakenings a sustainable magazine by recycling! And don’t forget that the recycling bin isn’t the only way. When our readers finally decide to part with their old issues, they find many creative ways of upcycling and reusing. Some of my favorites are Natural Awakenings papier-mâché, garden mulch, and Halloween scarecrow stuffing. Have your own idea? Post it on Facebook.com/naturalnj to share.