You thought cutting down on your printing would save the environment. Think Again.

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November 19, 2015

Myth:   Creating paper destroys forests.

Fact:   Paper production actually supports sustainable forest management. Plus, rejuvenating forests by planting trees means there is a continuous and renewable supply of wood fiber.

“Over the last six decades, the net total U.S. forest area has increased by over 3% and the net volume of trees on timberland has increased by 58%. In Canada, the forest cover has remained stable over the last two decades and less than 0.5% of Canada’s forest resource is harvested each year.”

USDA Forest Service, 2012 and Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, 2014

Myth:  Paper is harmful to the environment.

Fact:   Paper is actually a truly sustainable product.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, In North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity and the benefits include: extending the wood fiber supply; reducing greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding methane emissions (released when paper decomposes in landfills or is incinerated); contributing to carbon sequestration; reducing the energy needed for paper production; and saving landfill space.

Myth: The manufacturing of paper uses a lot of energy and leaves a large carbon footprint.

Fact:   Most of the energy used is renewable, and it actually has a small carbon footprint.

According to Forest Products Association of Canada, 98% of wood residue is now being used for either energy generation or composting. More than 66% of paper mills’ wastewater sediment is being used for either energy generation, composting or land application.”

Myth:  You should only use recycled paper if you use it at all.

Fact:   Both recycled fiber and virgin wood fiber are essential in sustaining the paper life cycle.

Sappi Fine Paper North America found that globally, 82% of recovered paper is used in tissue, containerboards, and other packaging or board products. Approximately 6% of the recovered paper supply is used in printing and writing grades.


Myth:  Paper and print are wasteful.

Fact:   Paper has one of the highest recycle rates in the world.

“In 2013, 50 million tons or 63.5% of the paper used in the United States was recovered for recycling. This is far higher than the 28% of glass and 9% of plastic recovered.  In Canada, 73% of the paper is recovered.”

American Forest & Paper Association, 2015; U.S. EPA, 2015; Forest Products Association of Canada, 2014

Myth:  Packaging is unnecessary and harmful to the environment.

Fact:   Packaging from paper sources reduces waste, protects goods and can be recycled.

“A study that compared the life cycle environmental impacts of plastic and corrugated cardboard boxes (CCB) for bread delivery concluded that the recyclable CCB box system was a more environmentally friendly option than the reusable HPDE plastic crate system.”

Koskela, S. et al., 2014

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