In 1976, Alan Davis wanted to print an annual report on recycled paper, but had a difficult time finding a supply of it. So he switched careers and started a recycled paper company.
Today, the Conservatree Paper Co. is the country’s only paper wholesaler to distribute strictly recycled paper. Over the years, the San Francisco-based firm founded by Davis has introduced a number of new papers to the marketplace, including types using high percentages of post-consumer waste.
“From the beginning, we’ve been a trailblazer working ahead of the environmental movement,” said David Assman, vice president of information services. “We’ve led the way in introducing people to recycled paper and bringing new papers to the marketplace.”
Conservatree, like any normal business, works to make a profit and has performed well in the past. The company has made Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the nation three different years.
But the company also has a social agenda. By its calculations, the thousands of tons of recycled paper sold by Conservatree have saved 687,000 trees and 246,000 kilowatts of energy, Assman said. Additionally, more than a million tons of air pollution effluents have not poured into the atmosphere thanks to the firm’s efforts, and nearly 30,000 tons of solid waste have been diverted from landfills.
Along with its efforts to pump more recycled paper into society, Conservatree also carries out an information-services effort to inform policy makers, manufacturers, businesses and consumers of important developments in the recycled-paper field.
The company produces a bi-monthly publication called Environmentally Sound Paper (ESP) News. Story topics include pending recycling laws, public-policy updates and new developments in the industry.
To receive ESP News, individuals or businesses can join the company’s Greenline Membership Program. Members receive three of the newsletters, three fact packs and an introductory library of articles containing more information on various recycled-paper issues.
“We treat Greenline members as a resource,” Assman said. “They help us support the recycling movement — a movement that is making recycling work for consumers, manufacturers and public-policy makers.”
Started in 1991, the program already has 1,500 members. They include corporate purchasers, environmentalists, printers, publishers and designers, policy makers, direct-mail marketers and recycling officials.
“We’ve definitely had an impact and have become a resource for the many recycled-paper issues,” said Assman. “But there’s room for more information to be passed along. We’re happy with our progress, but we still have a long way to go.”
Tip/Stat- Paper makes up 40 percent of all the material hauled to landfills.