The O&P EDGE: Maintaining a Global Conscience

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Tonja Randolph

If you receive the print version of this magazine, you probably had to tear open the plastic polybag holding together The O&P EDGE and The Academy TODAY for mailing. One of our readers recently asked us whether or not there was a more environmentally friendly way to deliver these two publications to you. Rest assured that we are delivering printed publications to you in the most environmentally responsible ways possible while still meeting United States Postal Service (USPS) guidelines.

The USPS has imposed strict guidelines on how magazines and supplements must be mailed together, and the specifications about the type of bag that can be used in such mailings are similarly strict. The Postal Service has standards for the type of plastic we must use, as well as its thickness, weight, etc. Unfortunately, these requirements make it impossible for us to deliver a product to our readers using a completely biodegradable bag. In fact, when we mail to our international subscribers, we are required to mail the magazine in a bag or an envelope. From an environmental perspective, the polybag is not ideal, but the good news is that because of the heightened awareness about environmental concerns in the United States, the bag has been improved so that it is far more compostable than its predecessors.

Our printer uses papers that are up to 40 percent post-consumer waste, and they use soy-based inks as opposed to the more traditional, petroleum-based inks. Our printer continually looks for more ways it can minimize its environmental impacts, including using wind-generated energy.

Because the USPS continues to lose money annually, it strives to become more and more automated, operating with more machines and fewer people. Many of the requirements imposed on periodical mailers are in the name of efficiency and automation. The address label on our front cover is a good example of this. You may have wondered why the address bar is oriented along the side of the magazine. A couple of years ago, the USPS required magazine mailers to make this change to streamline mail delivery so that it is easier for postal carriers to read the address quickly when delivering. To be fair, we also had the option to place the address on the cover so that it reads upside down. Neither is optimal, in my opinion.

There's something special about being able to hold a printed piece in your hands and read it through. But whether you choose to read The O&P EDGE online or in print, please know that we work closely with our local printer to keep abreast of how we can continue to deliver a high-quality product that also meets the needs of a globally conscious society and the USPS. As always, we welcome your comments and appreciate your readership.

Tonja Randolph

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