Newspaper makes recycling a top priority - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Newspaper makes recycling a top priority

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The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier prints more than 300,000 papers each week; 42,000 on a typical weekday and 52,000 on a Sunday.  Printing that many papers means using a lot of paper and ink.  Production Manager Scott Snyder oversees print jobs from start to finish.  He says they reuse and recycle supplies throughout the printing process.

"A lot of newspapers have recycled content in them, and they're recycled to make things like cardboard boxes too," said Snyder.

Once editors are ready to send the paper to the press, they send a computerized version to production.  The page is etched onto aluminum plates, which go onto the printing press to stamp out the page.  The first thing used in production is also the first thing recycled.   The Courier sends the aluminum and silver from the plates away to an outside recycling company.   To cut down on waste, production workers try to set the paper and ink just right before they start the presses.

"If you didn't keep close tabs on that, you'd end up putting a lot more spoils out and we like to keep that down because newsprint is our highest expense, so we do whatever we can to make sure we keep that waste down," said Snyder.

Even with careful preparation, the first and last copies of a print job aren't good enough to sell.

"When they're good and we're ready to send them into the mailroom, we hit this switch," said Snyder.

Snyder says they lose about 3% of newsprint everytime they run the press.  All of the unused paper is also recycled.  Another environmentally friendly way the Courier is cutting down on waste is downsizing your paper.

"Paper used to be 55 inches across but in 2004 the Courier switched to 50 in. newsprint to cut down on the amount of paper that's used in printing your news," said Snyder.

The courier also recycles with a very dirty job: reclaiming ink.  They take unused black and colored ink and mix it in with the black ink to be reused.  There is financial incentive to recycle printing supplies.  By selling some material, like the silver from plates, the courier significantly drops the cost of printing .

"We get a little bit back for the waste that we generate.  Otherwise, it would go in the landfill so this way it's getting reused, and it's getting reused many times," said Snyder.
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