“Rolling Stone” Discovers It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Jun 11th, 2007 // 5 Comments

policestone.jpgToday’s New York Times reports that Rolling Stone is in a bit of a jam regarding its upcoming June 28th issue, which will feature extensive reporting on global warming, and which will kick off an effort to print the magazine on more environmentally friendly paper. However, at least one environmentalist–yes, at least one!–is not happy about it:

But as Rolling Stone and others try to be green, they draw criticism from environmentalists who think that if this is walking the walk, it is doing so with a pronounced limp.

Rolling Stone will be printed on what it calls “carbon neutral paper,” because it is made through a process that the magazine claims adds no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The paper, which is considerably thinner than what Rolling Stone uses now, is made by a Canadian mill, Catalyst Paper, that the magazine says has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 82 percent since 2005 and been cited by the World Wildlife Fund for its conservation efforts…

What neither an editor’s note in Rolling Stone nor a press release sent by the magazine mentions, however, is that the new paper has no recycled content, which prompted a mixed review by Frank Locantore, director of the Magazine Paper Project at Co-op America, a nonprofit group that works with publishers to reduce paper use…

“Are the steps that Rolling Stone is taking good and important ones?” Mr. Locantore asked. “Yes. But what I’m afraid they are doing in the process is diverting attention away from the need to use recycled paper.” He added, “All the evidence shows that the greatest ecological and social benefits come from using recycled paper.”

Eric Bates, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone, said, “We think recycled paper is great.”

But, he added, “we’re publishing some of the world’s greatest photographers and artists,” and the print quality on recycled paper does not do them justice. “What we’re trying to do is what we can do. We can’t put out the magazine we put out on recycled paper.”

We will leave this to the environmental experts to parse, but remember: Every time you pick Rolling Stone and read “Smoking Section,” an otter dies. Not from waste, but from acute sycophancy.

Rolling Stone Finding Out Green Isn’t Green Enough [NYTimes]


  1. Chris Molanphy

    I would think Gordon “Rainforest” Sumner would want to appear on the cover of an all-recycled issue. Then again, maybe that doesn’t work for his Jaguar-driving demos…

  2. RepentTokyo

    yeah, the content would definitely suffer on recycled paper. because rolling stone is a museum to some of the highest quality writing and photography has ever seen. they are ABOVE ECOLOGY.

  3. Nicolars

    “we’re publishing some of the world’s greatest photographers and artists,”

    Yeah, wouldn’t want to detract from yet another tired Annie Leibowitz pictorial.

  4. DaveAhUm

    “the new paper has no recycled content,”

    Judging from the cover, The Police & Global Warming, I’d say Rolling Stone does, and will continue to, have plenty of recycled content.

  5. VanillaXtraDry

    but RS has Amy Winehouse on the cover!!!!…oh, wait….

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