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LCA gives green light for new media solution

Published 29/05/2013
The world's first automated magazine kiosk – internet-connected Meganews Magazines – is about to be launched. Prior to its launch, the research institute Innventia analysed the new product’s impact on the environment. Innventia’s life cycle assessment shows that Meganews Magazines with print-on-demand technology is a sustainable complement to traditional magazine sales.

Innventia was commissioned by Meganews Sweden to make an assessment of their future products and compared a magazine printed in a Meganews Magazines kiosk with a magazine printed and distributed for counter sales in the traditional way. The assessment was based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a method that involves identifying the key processes throughout a product's life cycle, from cradle to grave. This gives a complete picture of the environmental impact.

To make the assessment, two scenarios were created on which the estimates of environmental impact were based. The results show that approximately 60% lower emissions of fossil greenhouse gases were generated during the life cycle of a magazine printed and sold in a Meganews Magazine kiosk compared to a magazine printed and distributed in the traditional way, including unsolds. The major difference lies in the efficient use of paper because every magazine printed in a Meganews Magazines kiosk is sold. In traditional magazine sales, 40% generally remain unsold and go straight to recycling.

“At Innventia we and our customers work with new solutions and innovations. An important step in the launch of a new process, material or product is to make a sustainability assessment, although conducting studies on things that do not yet exist obviously poses a challenge,” says Malin Kronqvist, project manager at Innventia. “It was an interesting opportunity to research the latest in printed and digital media. As media is more and more being distributed digitally, Meganews Magazines offers Swedish and international publishers an innovative complement to today's distribution channels. The life cycle analysis showed that it is also a sustainable complement.”

“The results confirm that we are on the right track in assuming that the new technology has a low environmental impact,” says Lars Adaktusson at Meganews Sweden. “I want to give credit to the publishers who choose to sell their newspapers and magazines via Meganews Magazines – they are paving the way for a new sustainable option.”

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