The State of Paper--Important News and InfoOctober 26, 2011
The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) recently released an update to its 2007 report on North American paper consumption, harvesting and manufacturing processes. There is good news to report. Among other changes, the average North American consumed 154 pounds less paper in 2009 than in 2005, an amount equal to 15,000 sheets per person and a stack of paper 6 1/2 feet high. And if the US reduced its consumption of virgin fiber paper by only 10%, it would save an estimated 23 million trees and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 481,000 cars. Click here for a quick list of the top 10 results.
The EPN is an important voice and influence on pulp and paper sustainability issues in North America and its global supply chain. The EPN seeks to transform the paper industry, and more than 100 affiliated environmental organizations are working to achieve specific objectives including decreasing the over-consumption of paper, increasing the amount of recycled content paper purchased, and other steps to improve the sustainable manufacturing and consumption of paper.
I’m bringing this report to your attention for a couple reasons. First, the information is super useful to green teams seeking to underscore the importance and impact of paper conservation practices, including purchasing standards that ensure sourcing from certified manufacturers (click here to see a list). Secondly, the EPN paper calculator has been adopted by the EPA and is linked to on EPA’s website. The calculator is a quick and easy way to compare paper types and their different environmental impacts. When we shifted from virgin and 30% recycled content paper, or post-consumer content (pcc), to 100% pcc, I used the EPA paper calculator to illustrate the dramatic impact we could have on lowering our carbon footprint.
The EPN report is chock full of great statistical information that is useful to understanding the paper industry in the world and to supporting green team proposals for changes in procurement practices, approved vendors, and to encourage responsible paper use and consumption. Check out Tools for Purchasers that offers step by step ways to improve sustainable paper use. The website has a lot to offer.
Click here to read the full report. (Highly recommended and there are many charts to illustrate the state of the paper industry today.)