One year ago, the D.C. Republican Committee gave Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh a hard time about her constituent newsletter. Chairman Bob Kabel and Executive Director Paul Craney jabbed the green-minded legislator for neglecting to note the publication’s greenness.

“You recently mailed Ward 3 residents an unsolicited newsletter that failed to indicate if it was printed on recycled paper or used soy ink,” Kabel wrote in a letter. “The practice of mailing all your constituents unsolicited mail without taking steps to be environmentally conscientious leaves an environmental impact.”

The newsletters, in fact, had been printed on recycled stock and with soy ink, but Cheh made no such mistake this year.

You can find this message plastered on the most recent edition of her Ward 3 newsletter: “We engaged a printer for the production of this piece that is 100% wind powered, carbon neutral, uses a waterless printing process, and is an EPA Green Power Partner and EPA Climate Leader. It was printed on FSC certified paper using vegetable-based inks.”

FSC, for those unawares, refers to the Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies that the paper used is made from “well-managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fiber.” Their logo sits alongside three others advertising the pamphlet’s green bona fides. (And, yes, there’s a union bug, too.)

Cheh says the new wording doesn’t reflect any huge change regarding her printing practices. “I just announced them,” she says. “I didn’t want any of that stuff to be a distraction. I want people to read the newsletter.”

Craney says all the disclaimers are “a good start” for Cheh and the council in terms of practicing what they preach.

“There’s more that can be done,” he says. “Especially when the council imposes green extreme measures on small businesses, the least they can do is do them themselves.”

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