For more than 2000 years, print on paper has been a valued communications medium, helping us learn, create, and share ideas. Paper also has unique environmental features and helps support the U.S. economy.
The demand for responsibly produced paper provides a financial incentive for landowners to keep their land forested and manager it sustainably rather than selling it for development – the primary cause of deforestation in the United States, according to the U.S. Forest Service. This sustainably managed land provides a host of constant environmental services, from clean water, healthy soil and climate change alleviation to recreational opportunities and improved air quality.
The demand for responsibly produced paper also supports millions of U.S. jobs. The American Forest & Paper Association reports that the paper industry employs approximately 900,000 workers in green jobs, making the industry a Top 10 manufacturing employer in 47 states. When jobs in industries that depend on paper such as printing, suppliers to the printing and paper industries, direct mail, and delivery are added (e.g. NextPage & PrintBig), the number of paper supported jobs jumps to 8.4 million according to the 2012 Mailing Jobs Study, EMA Foundation.
So, what defines responsibly produced print and paper? Print media and paper are recyclable and are made primarily from a natural resource that is renewable – trees as well as recycled paper. These characteristics, combined with the U.S. print and paper industry’s advocacy of responsible forestry practices and certification, advances in cleaner, more efficient print and papermaking technology, and increasing use of renewable, carbon-neutral biofuels in the paper manufacturing process make print and paper one of the most sustainable products when compared to other products we use.