Tech vs. Trees: Stora Enso and Koskisen announce world’s first fully bio-based furniture wood board, retail chains from CVS to Carrefour shifting from print ads to digital, US colleges aim to eliminate textbook costs

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LOS ANGELES , January 21, 2022 () –

A roundup of recent trends pitting technology against the printed word:

Trees: Stora Enso and Koskisen announce world’s first fully bio-based furniture wood board

The average consumer might not think the boards that make their wood furniture contain anything other than wood, but these boards typically also contain fossil-based resins and adhesives. However, thanks to an innovation by Stora Enso and Finnish plywood manufacturer Koskisen, a furniture wood board can be fully bio-based without any toxic compounds like formaldehyde or isocyanate. Called Zero Furniture Board, the board uses Stora Enso’s bio-based lignin binder called NeoLigno to replace fossil-based resin, according to a Koskisen company release on Jan. 17. By creating what it calls the world’s first fully wood-based furniture board, Koskisen has come up with a product that allows furniture makers “to offer alternatives with better sustainability and health security,” said Timo Linna, the company’s head of product management and R&D. According to Stora Enso, Koskisen is the first company to use its NeoLigno binder in industrial production, and Zero Furniture Board will be commercially available by the third quarter of this year.

 

Tech: Retail chains from CVS to Carrefour shifting print advertising to digital

Starting in January, 35 Carrefour supermarkets will no longer mail non-addressed print ads to private households in Paris and Lyon, and that print-to-digital shift will extend to roughly 2,000 stores by the end of the year. The retailer noted that email and social media will take the place of those print ads, adding that tests conducted in 2021 showed 40% of its printed ads were found discarded unread, Euwid reported Jan. 18. In the U.S., drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens have made similar moves. CVS announced that starting the first week of January, its print weekly ad will go digital, The Sun Chronicle reported Dec. 28. This shift follows in the path of rival Walgreens, which stopped distributing Sunday print circulars in 2020, citing “consumer behavior shifts” amid COVID-19, Path to Purchase IQ reported June 2, 2020.

 

Tech: US colleges aim to eliminate textbook costs

Just in the first few weeks of the new year, several colleges around the U.S. have reported initiatives to eliminate textbook costs. In Minnesota, the Minnesota West Community and Technical College is offering what it calls “Z-degree” classes, which eliminate textbook costs in favor of open-source online textbooks, The Globe reported Jan. 14. By 2023, the college aims to implement an actual Z-degree in which students can earn an associate degree without incurring any textbook costs. In Texas, the Alamo Colleges District has partnered with Barnes & Noble to offer students free textbook rentals through this summer, Spectrum News 1 reported Jan. 8. And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal is asking the Cal State system to lower instruction material costs and the University of California system to cut textbook costs for lower-division undergraduate classes, The Los Angeles Times reported Jan. 10.

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