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The Green Life: Press "Print" to Plant a Forest

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August 05, 2011

Press "Print" to Plant a Forest

Tree plant a forest We've grown accustomed to seeing advertisements on nearly everything, from billboards slapped on buildings to those banners that stretch across the top of web pages. One place we wouldn't expect to find an ad is on our printer paper, but one man would like to change that, and for a good cause. Joe Miller's new startup, Print A Forest, sells footnote ads to fund tree reforestation projects, reports Good.

Miller refined the concept in college, as a scheme to offset the university library's environmental impact. By his estimate, the library printers churned out 9 million pages of paper per year, which amounted to the loss of 1,200 trees annually. He realized that by placing ads at the bottom of each piece of printer paper, he'd be able to fund tree-planting efforts. Now that idea has morphed into a company. 

After downloading a free computer application from Print A Forest, PC owners who print 100 ad-enhanced pages will have funded the planting of one tree. The program will track the amount of greenery planted, which may have a Farmville-like appeal to people who enjoy seeing their virtual forests grow. According to Good, Miller is using the ad dollars to fund the Nature Conservancy's Plant-A-Billion campaign, which charges $1 per planting. Allstate is the only advertiser so far, so if you use the program, you can expect to become very familiar with the founding sponsor's logo. 

For enviros who have already taken some of the first steps toward a greener office or university — using recycled paper and printing only when absolutely necessary — Miller's Print A Forest program seems like a great way to take the sting out of those times when we're forced to press "print."

--Della Watson

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