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Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold' for a greener planet

New boxed CD set for musician Neil Young uses FSC-certified, carbon-neutral cover stock that fits well with the artist’s green leanings.

Neil Young is no stranger to environmentalism. Expressed in lyrics like, “We got to save Mother Earth,” from the track “Be the Rain” on his 2003 Greendale album, his commitment to sustainability spans every aspect of his career from music to bio-fueled tour buses and even the paper used in his album packaging.

In 2009, Young launched the first volume of his archives, an eight-disc collection featuring music from 1963-1972. Together with long-time friend and package designer Gary Burden, the musician began collecting memorabilia for the archival collection over 20 years ago. The launch of the project culminated with a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

After putting so much time into the look and feel of the collection, Burden wanted to ensure the package retained its aesthetic appeal over time, as it will undoubtedly sit atop fans’ shelves for years. Neither Burden nor Young were willing to sacrifice their environmental commitment, though, so they chose Monadnock Duraprint™.  Manufactured under the stringent requirements of Monadnock Paper Mills’ ISO 14001 environmental management system, Duraprint met both requirements: durability and sustainability.

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Duraprint, an FSC-certified turned-edge cover stock, is also manufactured carbon-neutral and with 100% renewable Green-e certified electrical energy. Monadnock Paper Mills generates approximately half its annual electrical requirements with on-site, low-impact hydroelectric generators.

The background of the box features newspaper articles that chronicle Neil Young’s ascent to fame throughout the 1960s and early 70s. Overlaid are black block letters with the artist’s name that wrap around to create an in-store display as four boxes side-by-side spell the artist’s name. The top panel features an original piece of artwork by Jenice Heo, Burden’s wife.

“Sustainability was a given,” explains Burden. “And beyond that, durability and brightness were the two most important considerations for the outside box and cover stock. We really wanted to keep the subtleties of the newspaper reproductions intact.” Burden also claims a truck could run over the box without ruining its meticulously chosen graphics.


According to Monadnock, Duraprint is engineered to withstand repetitive folding without cracking, which was crucial for the box’s top opening. Available in sheets or rolls, Duraprint is white and super-smooth, and is designed to print using standard offset printing inks. Duraprint accepts deep, multilevel die embossing and foil stamping and also laminates smoothly in post-press converting.

As for the actual contents of the box, Burden strongly recommends the Blu-ray version. “It’ll blow your mind,” he says.

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