• Japanese ‘Mainichi Shimbusha’ pioneers environmental change with newspaper you can plant

When you finish reading a newspaper, what do you usually do with it? For most of us, it’s a brief moment in our day, and the paper eventually ends up discarded and forgotten.

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably wondered what to do with your newspaper once you’ve perused its pages. But in Japan, one newspaper publisher has devised an ingenious ‘green’ initiative, turning the humble newspaper into a potent agent of change.

Seeds of Innovation

“Mainichi Shimbusha,” a prominent Japanese newspaper publisher, has sown the seeds of change in the world of journalism. Their groundbreaking concept is turning newspapers into catalysts for environmental progress. This innovative approach allows readers to plant their newspapers, transforming them into something truly remarkable.

A Solution for Cleaner Cities

Have you ever noticed newspapers strewn across bus seats, train carriages, or fluttering down streets and pavements? To tackle this littering issue and contribute to a cleaner environment, the Japanese Daily introduced the “Green Newspaper.”

This unique edition was initially published for “Greenery Day” on May 4, 2016. It dedicated its pages exclusively to environmental news and was printed on 100% biodegradable paper with plant-based inks. But what set it apart were the seeds embedded within its pages. When planted, these seeds would grow into vibrant flowers, attracting butterflies and other pollinators. Some copies even produced herbs that you could harvest and eat.

In an effort to encourage environmental responsibility, the newspapers included instructions for readers to tear up their used copies and plant the pieces in soil. This not only cleaned up the streets but also made the printed word even more appealing. Research has shown that branding is 185% stronger in print advertising compared to digital, making this initiative particularly noteworthy.

Roots of Innovation

The brainchild of this remarkable concept is Dentsu Inc, one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies, which collaborates closely with “The Mainichi,” the publisher of the Japanese Daily. Their mission emphasizes not only delivering information but also actively addressing global issues.

Harvesting Success

The “Green Newspaper” has reaped resounding success. It circulates over four million copies each day across Japan and generates revenues exceeding 80 million yen, equivalent to over £500,000. Beyond financial achievements, the initiative extends its impact to education, involving schools to raise awareness among children about environmental issues and the importance of recycling.

A Growing Trend

The “Green Newspaper” is not the only sustainable planting initiative taking root. With Europe achieving a recycling rate of 74%, innovative recycling methods have become increasingly popular. Plantable greetings cards are now commonly found in stationery shops and supermarkets. Businesses are also getting in on the act, creating promotional materials such as seed sticks and plantable papers for business cards, leaflets, and flyers.

How Is Seed Paper Made?

The concept of seed paper isn’t new, but it’s gaining traction. You can even make it at home with just a few ingredients: recycled paper, water, and small flower or herb seeds. Here are the six main steps to make your own seed paper:

  1. Gather your choice of paper, tear it up, and place it in a blender, preferably using recyclable paper.
  2. Add warm water to the blender up to the fill line, blending until no visible paper chunks remain.
  3. Stir in the seeds (wildflower seeds are recommended).
  4. Strain the mixture to remove excess water.
  5. Spread the mixture on a cloth to dry.
  6. Once it’s dry, you can use it for cards, invitations, and more, knowing that it will grow into plants when planted.

A Greener Tomorrow

Next time you read a newspaper, think twice before discarding it. With initiatives like the “Green Newspaper,” you can contribute to a greener, more sustainable world, one page at a time.

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