It’s no secret that in most cases paper comes from trees and trees come from Ancient Forests. In fact:
Globally, 71% of the world’s paper supply is derived from ecologically valuable, biologically diverse forests rather than from tree farms. (Toward a Sustainable Paper Cycle: An Independent Study on the Sustainability of the Pulp and Paper Industry, 1996)
Approximately 40% of the trees logged in Canada’s ancient rainforests (trees up to 1,400 years old)* and 65% of those logged in Canada’s boreal forests are used to produce pulp and paper.**
Global paper consumption has increased by a factor of 20 this century and has more than tripled over the past 30 years. (NO END TO PAPERWORK: World Resources 1998-1999, by staff of World Resources Program, 1998 updated June 2001.
Global paper consumption is projected to grow roughly 77% by 2020. (OECD Environmental Outlook, p. 218, 2001)
It takes 60 percent less energy to manufacture paper from recycled stock than from virgin materials.
Producing a ton of virgin paper requires 20 trees and 7,000 more gallons of water than a ton of 100% recycled paper. Furthermore, chlorine is generally used in the bleaching process, releasing the carcinogenic chemical dioxin and other toxins.
Although only 5% of the world’s population lives in the U.S., Americans use 27% of the wood harvested worldwide
When buying computer or typing paper next, look for paper that’s Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) and contains at least 30% recycled content. This paper is an affordable environmentally friendly alternative to virgin, chlorine-bleached paper.
Did you know that, on average, an American uses more than 730 pounds of paper each year? That means we each use the equivalent of nine trees as big as telephone poles and four stories high!
About half of the wood we use goes into paper products, including boxes, computer printouts, napkins, toilet paper, magazines and more. Some of these will contain recycled fiber, but most are still made from newly cut trees. Even if something is made with 20% recycled content, it’s still 80% virgin tree. Despite our recycling efforts, paper makes up nearly 40% of our garbage. Fortunately we don’t need to use trees to meet all our paper needs, we can make excellent paper by recycling and using other waste material such as weed grasses or leftover straw from food crops. Farmers can also grow fiber crops, such as kenaf, for paper. By making paper from a variety of materials and recycling what we make, we can preserve our forests.
The bleaching process used to make pure white and colored papers creates a toxic substance called dioxin that is polluting our air, soil and water. Dioxins are highly fat-soluble, they accumulate in foods that contain fat? foods such as meat, dairy products, and mother’s milk. Dioxins have just been designated as known human carcinogens by the government’s National Toxicology Program. We herein north Florida are down stream from a large number of pulp and paper mills.
By using as many unbleached paper products as we can find in our stores and asking store owners to carry more of these products, we can take a step toward reducing this serious health risk to us all. Why buy white coffee filters when you can buy unbleached brown ones? They are going to turn brown anyway. Americans are the only people in the world who use white and brightly colored toilet paper. Buying unbleached, recycled content toilet paper takes us a big step toward conserving our natural resources. Ask your local stores to carry unbleached recycled content paper products and use them in your homes, churches, offices and shops.