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Hearst Catches Green Flak Over Esquire’s E-Ink Cover

Esquire Magazine, published by Hearst, is taking heat (here & here) over the use of E-Ink in its upcoming 75th anniversary issue, which hits newsstands in September.

The cover, created using battery powered electronic paper display technology, will scroll the words “The 21st Century Begins Now,” Media Buyer Planner reports.

The NY Times reports that:

The batteries and the display case are manufactured and put together in China. They are shipped to Texas and on to Mexico, where the device is inserted by hand into each magazine. The issues will then be shipped via trucks, which will be refrigerated to preserve the batteries, to the magazine’s distributor in Glazer, Ky.

The E-Ink cover will appear on 100,000 newstand issues, out of a total circulation of 720,000. The experiment will use 150 tons of CO2 equivalent, and increase the magazine’s carbon footprint, for those 100,000 issues, by 150 tons, according to Fast Company calculations.

As Portfolio points out in its article, Hearst has been trying to take a proactive stance on the environment. It publishes the popular consumer site The Daily Green and has instituted a zero-waste policy at its green Manhattan headquarters, making it among the first corporations to roll out a program in an office tower of its size.

Hearst is also part of ReMix – Recycling Magazines is Excellent! – a national public education campaign aimed at increasing recycling of magazines and catalogs, but the plastic parts and batteries in the E-Ink cover make the anniversary issue virtually impossible to recycle.

Ford, which just recently dealt with climate-related shareholder resolutions, bought the inside cover ad, which will also use the technology, according to Folio.

For a different take on magazine covers and advertisers, the April issue of Newsweek had a cover that converted into a prepaid envelope for sending Target (the sponsor) plastic shopping bags to Terracycle to be manufactured into reTotes, the reusable shopping bags sold by the retailer.

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