As The Surfer’s Path evolved it became the most environmentally friendly surf magazine on Earth. Recycled paper and soy based inks, were at the time an expensive alternative, but one which guaranteed to least impact on the planet. It was groundbreaking at the time, and didn’t come without its problems, but over the last four or five years things have changed even more allowing us to create something as environmentally friendly but in a way that is easier to work with.
Firstly sustainably sourced paper has become far less environmentally damaging, and combined with recycled stock, means that the environmental impact of a page of a magazine or book has reduced by over 40% in under a decade. But it’s not as simple as using recycled paper, we also want to produce a book like magazine that lasts a lifetime, and reproduces photographs in a way that is second to none, and not all recycled stock can handle this. So at the moment we’re looking for the best option before we go to print in June. It’s a tricky one, but the samples are due in this week, and we’ll post them up so you can see. From what we have seen already though, we will be able to deliver unrivalled quality combined with a sustainable product.
The next bit is the ink. Soy based and vegetable based inks have come a long way too, reproducing colours much more dynamically like the traditional oil based inks. They are more environmentally friendly, however they are not as clean as you’d hope. For example a lot of Soy based inks can be called such with as little as 10% soy and 60% petroleum based content, which sounds rediculous right? Soy also still releases some pretty gnarly chemicals, so it is greener but isn’t perfect. Vegetable based inks are better, but what has also changed is how efficient printing has got, all magazines have become a lot greener because of this, even if you’re using petroleum based inks on a mag you’re in a much better position than 10 years ago. However we don’t want to, so like with the paper we’re testing inks and paper together, to get the best combo of least damaging and best quality.
The final bit of our environmental policy is in our distribution. Ten years ago I worked for a magazine that would print 10-15k magazines a month, sent them to newsagents around the UK and beyond, and if 55% of those sold it was considered a success in a distribution v sales ratio, 45% was acceptable. You’d think the rest would be saved as back issues so not to be wasted? Well you’re wrong, of the unsold mags most would be pulped. Now that was then, and things are a lot more efficient now when it comes to managing numbers into newsagents, but there is still a significant wastage, so we want to cut that out, hence why you won’t find us in a shop, the only way you’ll get hold of a magazine is direct. It removes lorries taking them to shops, having to print more than we need, and then having to pay for them to be picked up and pulped.
So if you’d like to get on the receiving end of TSP you can subscribe HERE
Finally there will be zero plastic in anything we post, but you knew that one already.
One last point, and this was a worry for us. There aren’t a lot of studies on this but the few that have been done with regards to educational books state that – reading and getting information from printed books and journals uses about 40% less resources than gathering it from a digital device. We were blown away by this one, but the science is solid, and when you think of the energy usage overtime, the raw materials in the device you’re using it makes perfect sense.
PS – as well as trying to have as little impact as possible, we’re going to give 10% of any profits we make to marine environmental groups.