The folks at NewPage are at it again. A year after shifting the way we think about coated paper with the launch of Sterling Premium (check out our review here), they're looking to revolutionize the way we think about coated economy papers with the introduction of Anthem Plus. Touting it as a "simpler, broader, better offering," NewPage is focusing on it's American Made heritage with the launch of the grade while challenging the status quo with the way companies look at environmental considerations.
The basics: 90 Bright, Blue-white shade, which is a nice bonus in the economy tier offering. Available in Gloss, Dull and Matte finishes with basis weights ranging from 60# text to 110# cover. It's packed in cartons or press-ready mini skids sure to make pressmen across the country jump for joy at the thought of not having to unwrap another package before loading onto the press. Sporting the mark of responsible forestry certification with your choice of FSC, SFI or PEFC certification available - FYI Millcraft is stocking the FSC certified products. Also worth mentioning is the fact it is a perfect shade match to their digital product offering, Blazer Digital, in the economy category as well - making cross platform output quality appear seamless in its transition.
Enough about the pedigree of white coated paper - what really got me excited about this grade was how NewPage is positioning it. When I laid my eyes on the print promotion for the launch (designed by Froeter Design Company who also did the work for the Sterling Premium launch), I started to get excited. Finally a major domestic mill is embracing it's roots. Flipping through the piece, The New American Workhorse, you'll find beautiful photography evoking images of Americana. From the corn fields of Ohio (after all NewPage is headquartered in the Buckeye state), to the lone biker on the open desert road (printed sepia tone for added emo effect), to the classic Weber Charcoal grill with smoke billowing from it's top, to the smiling faces of the Harlem Engine Co.90, FDNY - this piece is brimming with American pride. I also think it's very smart on NewPage's part to key in on the very hot maker's movement sweeping the country, which at it's heart is about the re-emergence of the American spirit of tinkering and building, re-tooled and made user friendly for today's market.
The other part of this launch which I find extremely interesting is the emphasis NewPage is putting on shifting the environmental conversation away from slapping a logo on everything print just so a company has CYA'd itself with the consumer, and got down to walking the walk by really following the practices of sustainability. The biggest point that stood out to me when I sat through the sales meeting was the fact that this grade, while sporting important Chain of Custody certification, contains no post consumer waste. This is a big departure for a major coated paper manufacturer.
Let's be honest, while it's easy for the consumer to understand the recycled logo followed by the words "contains X% PCW", what does it really mean in terms of the integrity of the brand's sustainability efforts? Let me explain, a lot of commercial printing papers sold here in the U.S. are made overseas. How environmentally responsible is it for an American company to sport the recycled logo on it's catalog, when the paper used to print the catalog comes from Asia and has traveled over 7,000 miles via container + 2400 miles via regional air freight + 1200 miles via freight rail + 500 miles via LTL (mill domestic D.C.) + 100 miles via small truck (local merchant) + 50 miles via van (printer) to get to the fulfillment center? One could argue the benefit of 10% PCW pales in comparison to the detrimental environmental effects of 8,000 lbs.of CO2 emissions - which is the case in the aforementioned scenario.
Let's be clear, if you can find a domestic paper that contains PCW - which NewPage offers in their Sterling Premium grade - that would be optimal. But if you are like many these days, budget is dictating your paper purchase - hence the need for an economy sheet with all the aesthetics you want (finish, weight, brightness, shade) plus a responsible carbon footprint - that's where Anthem Plus changes the game, and why NewPage is positioning it as the smarter economy grade.
I applaud NewPage's stance on focusing on carbon footprint instead of PCW. I truly believe it's about time we all start walking the walk in terms of what it means to be an American company committed to practicing sustainability - which Merriam Webster defines as "of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged."
To request your copy of Anthem Plus, the New American Workhorse - click here. You can place your order for the new Anthem Plus on mymillcraft.com - don't have an account? Sign up here.