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Verdigris, the environmental awareness initiative, is asking the printing and paper industries and their customers to ‘Go Google-less’ in response to Google’s Paperless 2013 campaign which urges people to stop using paper. Verdigris wants the industry to stop using the Google search engine and related products such as Google+, Chrome or Android in the hope that Google will reconsider.

The Paperless 2013 campaign (www.paperless2013.org) claims that relying exclusively on digital communications instead of using paper benefits the environment. However, Paperless 2013 is more about getting people to use cloud storage, online bill management, accounting and e-signatures.

Verdigris claims that Google and its campaign partners are using an environmental message to encourage use of their own technologies, not to aid environmental sustainability. “Their arguments are ill-founded and potentially damaging to the environment,” says Laurel Brunner, Verdigris founder.

Electronic devices cannot be recycled; paper can. Unlike paper, electronic devices are not based on a sustainable resource, but depend on oil-based plastics and rare earths neither of which can be replenished. Electronic devices require huge amounts of energy to support and maintain the content they deliver, whereas paper based content has a one-time carbon footprint. Electronic devices create an environmentally damaging waste stream that cannot easily be managed. Paper can be reused, recycled and disposed of responsibly when it reaches its end of life.

Verdigris wants enough people Go Google-less to encourage Google to reconsider its campaign. “At the very least, they might try to better understand the environmental impact of media and about what industry can to do help reduce environmental impacts,” says Laurel. “The higher the number of users, the higher Google can charge advertisers. Reduce the number and we undermine the source of Google’s income. The threat of harm to its revenue model might encourage Google to become better informed and be more responsible in its environmental positioning, particularly as relates to print and paper.”

For more information on Verdigris, please visit www.verdigrisproject.com