Thursday, November 30, 2006

Military, Industry, and World Bank Money in Uruguay

Despite fierce international controversy and opposition, the Finnish pulp and paper company Oy Metsa-Botnia said the World Bank's International Finance Corporation has approved 520 million US dollars in financing for its pulp mill project in Fray Bentos, Uruguay plus 170 million US dollars in additional insurance guarantees from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Meanwhile, thousands of Argentine citizens opposed to the completion of the pulp mill are assembling and picketing across the river, blockading access to Fray Bentos from Argentina, and the Uruguay army has moved into positions surrounding and protecting the pulp mill contruction site.

Miguel Campostrino, leader of the Gualeguaychu Environmental Assembly responsible for the route blockades was quoted in a newspaper saying that “over a thousand people are willing to cross over to Uruguay and do whatever is necessary to avoid the completion of the Botnia pulp mill, and I’m not bragging”.

100% Recycled Paper at Costco

Finally, 100% recycled paper is becoming more available at major retail outlets. Adding one more location to the growing list, shoppers at Costco stores can now buy 100% recycled paper from Gray's Harbor for a two month trial period. Gray's Harbor used Environmental Defense's Paper Calculator to estimate that purchasing a case of the paper will save 24 trees and about 3000 gallons of water. Costco shoppers should snatch up a case now to ensure that the product will remain available at Costco stores in the future.

Tata to Excessive Packaging in Britain

British environmental minister Ben Bradshaw told citizens to leave "unnecessary and excessive" packaging at the register when they check out. Packaging waste is on the rise in Britain despite the commitment from major retailers to curb it. The country's top 13 grocery retailers pledged last year to reduce waste by over 175,000 tons by 2008, but so far have eliminated only 38,000 tons. "Until the supermarkets demonstrate clearly that they are willing to lead by example, we cannot expect consumers to get fully engaged with reducing their own waste," Bradshaw said.

Read the full article in the Guardian.

In the United States, more than half of the paper produced goes into paper packaging and the average American generates 300 pounds of packaging waste.

Take the Pledge to reduce your packaging here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Endowment for Communities in Transition Formed

A new endowment set up with $200 million US dollars as part of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement is intended to help workers through economic transition in small communities where mill closures have a major local economic impact.

"We hope to create systemic, transformative change to assist those workers who were making $20 an hour in a paper mill or a pulpwood mill who are now working in the fast food restaurants without benefits," said Dick Molpus of Jackson, president of the 11-member board of directors of the United States Endowment for Forestries & Communities Inc.

The endowment's chief executive officer is Carlton Owen of Greenville, S.C., a forester and wildlife biologist.

Roxie, Mississippi, where Georgia-Pacific closed its chip and sawboard mill on November 15, is hoping to benefit from the Endowment. Read it in the Sun Herald.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bowater Sells Land to Tennessee

Paper company Bowater, Inc. the largest private landownder on the Cumberland Plateau, an Endangered Forest of the Southeastern United States, has sold 12,500 acres of land to the state of Tennessee.

It remains unclear how the land will be managed by the state, but much of the acreage was acquired because of its benefits for wildlife conservation and public outdoor recreation. It represents a great opportunity for conservation policies in this incredibly biodiverse forest.

Last year, Bowater committed to significant environmental steps in its management of its landholdings in the Southeastern US, with the help of non-profit Dogwood Alliance.

Read about the details of the land sale in the Tennessean.

New Millwatch Report on GE Trees In Canada

A new Millwatch report details the threats posed by Genetically Engineered trees from a Canadian perspective.

The report states, "A cozy triad of government, forestry industry stakeholders and academic biotechnology researchers is developing, poised to promote the public acceptance of GE trees."

Millwatch is a bi-monthly newsletter on Clean Pulp and Paper Production, featuring news, analysis, resources and contacts. Produced by Reach for Unbleached since October 1995 and published on the internet and in the Watershed Sentinel, BC's environmental news magazine.

The Paper Industry and Its Endangered Species Challenge in Ontario

The province of Ontario still has some areas of very extensive old-growth and intact forests (i.e., wilderness). These forests are home to endangered species like woodland caribou and wolverine that are continually losing ground as their habitat shrinks. Much of this is due to the paper industry. Catalogs, office paper, newpspaper, pulp and other products are coming from the region, so this is an issue for most companies and individuals.

There is a good article in the Tonronto Star today about the plight of these species and the fight there to even get some endangered species legislation. Federal Canadian legislation does next to nothing to protect these species since the law only applies to federally controlled lands... and the forests are alomst entirely under the control of the provinces.

You can also visit the website of SOS - Save Ontario Species - for more info.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Williams-Sonoma Cooks Up Leading Paper Policy

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announced it will begin sourcing, effective immediately, virtually all of the paper used in the company's seven catalogs (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Bed and Bath, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, west elm and Williams-Sonoma Home) from sources certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). FSC certification ensures, through independent third-party audits, that Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s catalog paper comes from well-managed forests that adhere to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. will begin to display the FSC Mixed Sources label on its catalogs in early 2007.

"Today's announcement takes Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s existing environmental commitment a step further by becoming the first major catalog company to print all of its catalogs on Forest Stewardship Council certified sustainable paper," said Todd Paglia, Executive Director of ForestEthics. "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has assumed an environmental leadership position in the catalog industry."

Further information about Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s Environmental Catalog Paper Procurement Policy can be found at

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Print Greener

A new software product called Greenprint creates a solution for the wasted pages that occur when they are mistakenly printed out. You know, like the last page with just a URL, banner ad, logo, or legal jargon. The software analyzes everything that is sent to the printer and then highlights and removes unnecessary pages, thus saving $$/paper/ink/trees.

For more info, visit GreenPrint online or read about it in the Portland Tribune.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Forest certification resource website

The Alliance for Credible Forest Certification has launched its new website. The site is probably the best resource for the NGO position on certification, scientific and policiy studies on certification.

The Alliance consists of ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Co-Op America, Dogwood Alliance, Greenpeace, Healthy Building Network, Markets Initiative, National Wildlife Federation, Seattle Audubon Society, Sierra Club, the Southern Forests Network, and many others.

The site has lots of good information on the FSC and the SFI.

The short version: the SFI is simply not credible and only the FSC ihas the support of a wide range of conservation and forest advocates.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Citizen's Defeat International Paper's Tires for Energy Burn at NY Paper Plant

** Breaking News **

Late Tuesday afternoon, International Paper announced the permanent stoppage of its burning of tire-derived fuel at its plant in Ticonderoga, NY. The official reason given was because "test data indicates that long-term use of tire-derived fuel would not be economically feasible at the time."

Citizens who have been fighting the toxic plan for three years celebrated Tuesday night, knowing that the citizen monitoring of the toxic nature of the plan and drawing interational attention to the issue were what likely compelled IP to stop its burn when immediate health effects were clearly present as a result of the burn.

Stay tuned for more news on this in the morning.....

Dell Sells on Recycled Paper

Dells marketing publications now use an average of 50 percent recycled content paper -- and in many publications up to 90 percent -- exceeding a five-year company goal to use 50 percent recycled content by 2009.

Dell estimates the increased recycled content paper is avoiding the use of nearly 35,000 tons of virgin fiber paper per year. That is the equivalent of saving more than 250,000 trees or more than the number of trees required to print three Sunday editions of the New York Times.

The company announced the results in New York City at a Boreal Forest and Paper Roundtable event organized by members of the Environmental Paper Network including the Green Press Initiative, ForestEthics, Markets Intiative, and Co-op America.

Read Dell's full press release here....

Monday, November 13, 2006

IP Tire Burn Not Going Well

International Paper's controversial test burn of tire chips for energy at its Ticonderoga plant is running into problems and reportedly making Vermonters downwind sick. The Montpelier Times Argus reported on Saturday that IP had to scale back its test tire burn at a mill on Lake Champlain's west shore when, burning tires at one-third the allowed rate, it was bumping up against the limit for particular matter, a key pollutant.

Across the border in Vermont, numerous reports of foul smells and severe illness are being reported to local doctors and health agencies. According to local citizen groups, Vermonters report experiencing widespread adverse health affects ranging from severe respiratory affects, reactive airway inflamation, burning & blood shot eyes, burning nasal passages and throat, strange taste in mouth, metallic/rubber tasting, naseau, extreme fatigue and malaise, and cognitive defecits. Dr. Jack Mayer, a local pediatrician reported three cases of acute respiratory conditions transported north to Fletcher Allen Medical Center.

Vermonters, including state legislators, are calling on Governor Jim Douglas to invoke his authority under state statute to make International Paper stop the test burn in order to protect public health.

Tasmanian forests on YouTube

The Wilderness Society of Australia has posted its videos about Tasmanian Rainforest destruction and Gunns (the logging company responsible for the annihilation of the remaining rainforest in Tasmania and its export as chips to Japanese paper companies).

Powerful stuff. You can watch them here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some background on tissue paper producers

In light of Greenpeace stepping up their campaign on Kleenex, here is some useful background material.

WWF in Europe have been monitoring and reporting on the big toilet/hygiene products producers.

Toilet paper must get tougher

Toilet tissue manufacturers are failing to sell enough environmentally friendly products in the UK.

New research ranking the five 'giant' tissue manufacturers that make up 75 per cent of the European market - Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark, Metsa Tissue, Procter & Gamble and SCA Tissue - shows that whilst the companies have improved their overall environmental performance they need to make a greater effort to reduce the impact of their products on the world's forests.
And in the US, NRDC (Natrual Resources Defense Council) published this guide to tissue products.

Both are great resources for consumers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Toilets of Turin

Activists from Greenpeace today confronted Kimberly-Clark at its regional headquarters in Turin, Italy demanding that the company “Stop Flushing Ancient Forests Down the Toilet.” While 2 activists suspended a massive banner from the rooftop, 20 others chained themselves to toilet bowls outside the office with trees being ‘flushed down’ them, symbolizing the company’s destruction of Canada’s ancient Boreal forest to make toilet paper and other disposable tissue products.

Greenpeace is campaigning to get Kimberly-Clark, the world’s largest manufacturer of tissue products, to end its destruction of the Boreal Forest. Kimberly-Clark produces some of Canada and Europe’s most well known brands of tissue and toilet papers such as Kleenex, Andrex, Scottex, Page and Hackle. Almost one-third of the virgin pulp used to make Kimberly-Clark’s European products and one-fifth of its global pulp is from destructive logging operations in Canadian forests, including the Boreal forest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"A Funeral for Clean Air"

Today, Monday, November 6th, International Paper begins its toxic test burn of sludge and tire chips in Ticonderoga, NY, despite the opposition of the people and the government of Vermont and several of its customers.

This plant, whose products include the Hammermill line of office copy paper, will burn used tires for the next two weeks to try to make the case that they do not need to install pollution control devices.

On Sunday, the Burlington Free Press ran a comprehensive article with new details on the tire burn.

Organizations such as People for Less Pollution will hold what Joanna Colwell of the group called "a funeral for clean air," today at the plant and continue to challenge International Paper to be accountable.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Corporate Shell Game: International Paper Completes Land Sale

On October 30th, International Paper (NYSE: IP) completed the sale of 900,000 acres in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas to TimberStar Southwest, a Timberland Investment Management Operation - TIMO, for $1.13 billion. IP's total landsales in 2006 originally announced in April, totals 5.1 million acres and also includes the company Resource Management Services, another TIMO.

This marks the largest divestment of land by a timber company in the history of US forestry. IP however retains logging rights for from 30-50 years and the sale itself basically serves as a tax shelter saving the company millions and allowing them to pay down debt they have accrued from mergers with companies like Champion, Union Camp, Ilim (Russia), and more.

IP's sale matches a current industry trend in which most companies in the Southern US are selling off to TIMOs and private land managers. Other companies that have done this include Georgia Pacific and Bowater, and MeadWestvaco recently announced they would likely follow suit.

To learn more about the original sale, visit the story on the Dogwood Alliance website, here.