Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nearly one million hectares of Great Bear Rainforest now FSC certified

On December 10th, forest companies operating in the world's largest intact tract of coastal temperate rainforest took the next step in gaining marketplace recognition for their products. Western Forest Products, Interfor and BC Timber Sales, supported by pulp and paper producers Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper (partly owned by Canfor) have gained Forest Stewardship Council Certification (FSC). They are already signatories to the internationally renowned Great Bear Rainforest Agreement in British Columbia, Canada.

Building on the legal protection of a third of the region and critical first steps towards implementing Ecosystem-based Management across the land-base, a portion of operations for these companies now have the stamp of approval from FSC. FSC is the only forest certification system currently endorsed by environmental and indigenous organizations.

Full implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements is expected by 2014.

An Eco Milestone for the US Book Industry

As we entered December, the U.S. book industry quietly passed a remarkable environmental threshold – approximately 50% (market-share) of publishers now have environmental commitments in place – most with goals and timelines for vastly improving their environmental and climate performance. This is significant due to the fact that as recent as 2001, virtually no publishers had environmental commitments on record within this $40 billion/yr industry.

This milestone was hit with the release of Hachette Book Group’s new environmental policy. Hachette is one of the top five publishers in the U.S. and the new policy commits them to a tenfold increase in recycled fiber by 2012, a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, sourcing 20% of paper certified from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), ending the use of paper that may impact Endangered Forests, and a wide range of other initiatives.

“In these challenging economic times, it is wonderful to see a company as large as Hachette making environmental stewardship a core value and coming out with an industry leading policy. This helps the industry to pass an important threshold and hopefully will motivate those larger and smaller players that are lagging to do more.” said Tyson Miller, director of the Green Press Initiative.

Learn more....

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Video: Save the Rainforests, Save the Climate

As leaders gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a climate treaty, here's a simple, true, video message from Rainforest Action Network: (watch for the copy machine and make the connection)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Greenpeace Scrutinizes AbitibiBowater and Ontario Goverment in New Report

Greenpeace has released a new double report revealing that despite receiving advice to not extend the company’s licence, the Ontario government allowed the forest and paper company AbitibiBowater to clearcut thousands of hectares of vital woodland caribou habitat in northwestern Ontario, increasing the threat to the survival of caribou, a provincially listed species at risk.

The report, “Crisis in our Forests: A case study of AbibitiBowater’s irresponsible forestry in the English River Forest,” shows that AbitibiBowater was allowed to clearcut intact and old growth areas fragmenting 80,000 hectares of forest over a 10-year period. The report notes that, since logging began in the English River Forest, Ontario has allowed successive companies to reduce the original intact, old growth areas in the forest unit to about 300,000 hectares from approximately one million hectares.

The “Crisis in Our Forests” report includes a French-language companion report that shows that AbitibiBowater also has serious problems managing the Waswanipi-Broadback forest in northern Quebec.

Reports can be download here:

English River Case Study: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/recent/crisis-in-our-forests

Waswanipi Broadback Case Study: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/fr/actualites/rapport-choc-foret-boreale

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Office Paper Recovery

In an effort to recover a greater quantity and higher quality of high-grade paper for recycled content Printing and Writing manufacturing, the RePaper Project of the Environmental Paper Network has compiled an office paper recovery guide entitled - "Recovering and Rediscovering a Resource - Recovered Office Paper: Opening the Door to Climate Protection, Green Jobs, and a Sustainable Paper Industry".

This guide seeks to assist office and building managers across North America looking to start or improve a paper recovery program. However, even if you're not an office manager, you may still find it useful, so feel free to peruse, link to, or distribute.

You can access the guide, and other resources, on the RePaper Project's website.

A Win for Indonesia's Forests is "In the Bag."

Release from Rainforest Action Network....

Packaging Supplier to Fashion’s Finest Rejects Rainforest Destruction

PAK 2000 to Separate Itself from Asia Pulp and Paper, Pledges New Procurement Policy

December 2, San Francisco – After a two-month campaign by Rainforest Action Network and pressure from fashion industry leaders, New Hampshire based luxury packaging company PAK 2000 has announced that they will cut all financial ties with their majority shareholder, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), by the end of 2009. Additionally, RAN and PAK 2000 have agreed to work together on developing and implementing a leadership paper policy in the first quarter of 2010. As a leading supplier of paper bags and packaging products to fashion brands like Versace, Valentino, Prada and J.Crew, PAK 2000’s move gives options to fashion companies seeking to remove rainforest destruction from their supply chains.

“Indonesia is ground zero for deforestation and climate change,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “Through its actions PAK 2000 is demonstrating that paper from rainforest destruction is not a bargain for the fashion industry or for our children’s future.”

PAK 2000’s move puts them in line with a growing trend embraced by companies like Tiffany’s & Co., H&M Group, Gucci Group, and Ferragamo, all of whom have announced commitments to end their relationship with controversial suppliers, including APP, and to source recycled paper or paper that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. As part of its new procurement policy, PAK 2000 has committed to phasing out all controversial and high conservation value forest fiber from its paper products within 180 days. The company has also pledged to develop and implement a “leadership” paper policy that incorporates strong preferences for recycled and Forest Stewardship Council certified papers, transparency and less carbon intensive papers.

“We’re all thinking about our global footprints these days,” said Kate Dillon, a leading fashion model. “PAK 2000’s actions will make it easier for fashion companies to source environmentally responsible paper and provide one tangible step down the path of environmental leadership.”

PAK 2000’s move is a win for the fashion industry, but also for the Indonesian rainforests, the second largest standing rainforests left in the world and home to unique species like the orangutan, Sumatran tiger and the Sun Bear. It’s also a win for the global climate. Worldwide, the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for fifteen percent of all annual greenhouse emissions. The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia’s rapid deforestation account for around six percent of global emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in United States and have made Indonesia the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hachette Book Group Shows Climate Leadership

Submitted by Todd Pollak of the Green Press Initiative....

Some good news from the book industry. Yesterday, Hachette Book Group, one of the top 5 publishers and publisher of the popular Twilight series, announced an industry leading environmental policy which includes the following targets:

  • 30% Recycled fiber (majority post consumer) by 2012
  • 20% FSC certified papers by 2012
  • 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (including paper emission and forest carbon loss) by 2020
Read the full policy or an article in Publishers Weekly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scientists Confirm Burning Biofuels is Not Carbon Neutral

Many in the paper industry have been touting their business as environmentally friendly because they assert that they use a carbon neutral source of energy: residuals from forest harvest and the byproducts of pulp production, particularly black liquor.

However, as many environmental organizations have been quick to point out, burning biomass is far from carbon neutral as it immediately releases carbon from land-based stores to the atmosphere. And of course burning land-based stores of carbon, whether they be locked in fossil fuels below ground or in biomass above ground, is precisely the major cause of climate change.

While environmental organizations have been making this rather commonsense point for some time, an October article in Science has confirmed this glaring accounting error. As reported in the New York Times, "The accounting error even gives the impression that clearing the world’s forests, which absorb and thereby diminish heat-trapping carbon dioxide, is good for the climate, the scientists write." They also state the critical fact quite succinctly, "If an existing stand of forest land is cleared for fuel, its ability to absorb carbon dioxide is lost, and the net balance of the gas in the atmosphere goes up."

And Princeton University, who led the study, had this to say in their report:

"Tim Searchinger, a research scholar in the Princeton Environmental Institute and a fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, is lead author of the study. Michael Oppenheimer, director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy and professor of geosciences and international affairs in the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is a co-author.

In the study, "Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error," the authors contend that across-the-board exemption of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from bioenergy -- the use of plant materials known as biomass for the production of renewable fuels -- is improper in greenhouse gas regulations if emissions due to land-use changes also are not included. This, they assert, erroneously treats all uses of bioenergy as carbon-neutral, renewable energy regardless of the source of the biomass, and could create strong economic incentives for large-scale land conversion as countries around the world tighten carbon caps."

To read the full article from Princeton University, click here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mohawk Quits over Climate Bill, and US House Closing Black Liquor Loopholes in the Health Care Bill

Lots of action today for the paper industry in an emerging storyline of how it will fit into the new, low-carbon economy, and who will lead.

First, news that Mohawk Fine Papers is quitting the US Chamber of Commerce over its radical position against the cap and trade climate bills working through Congress. See article here.

Second, there is news in the story of the "Son of Black Liquor" tax loophole in the 2008 Farm Bill. (Read about it in the blog: Dead Tree Edition) Representative Van Hollen (D-Maryland) has apparently had his recently introduced stand alone legislation (H.R. 3895) inserted into the Manager's Amendment to the health care bill that will hit the floor at the end of this week.

The estimated $24 billion in tax credit savings could be used to offset costs of the health care bill, Van Hollen said.

"In addition to supporting homegrown renewable energy, it is my hope that this legislation will be added to the manager's amendment for the House health care reform package making its way to the floor this week so that the savings generated by these improvements can help pay for health care for all Americans," said Representative Van Hollen in a statement.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fashion Industry to Protect Indonesia’s Rainforests - New Commitments from Gucci, Tiffany and H&M

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has been successfully urging the fashion world to more closely examine their paper supply chains and to sever any connection with paper suppliers like Asia Pulp and Paper who are actively destroying Indonesia’s rainforests.

Gucci Group has decided to eliminate all paper made from Indonesian rainforests and plantations and by controversial suppliers like Asia Pulp and Paper. The move is a first step in implementing an industry-leading paper policy and a continuation of the Gucci Group’s interest in stemming climate change, about twenty percent of which stems from forest loss.

Gucci Group’s new policy puts them at the front of a growing list of major companies, including Tiffany & Co., H&M Group, Staples and Unisource who are taking concrete action to clean their supply chains of rainforest paper and severing relationships with companies who continue to destroy rainforests in Indonesia or elsewhere.

“Standing rainforests are not a luxury, they’re a necessity if the world wants to stop climate change,” said Mimma Viglezio, Executive VP Global Communications at the Group. “Our actions are lowering our own carbon footprint, but we hope that they will also raise awareness inside the fashion industry that it’s possible for our industry to make a difference for rainforests and for the climate.”

The Gucci Group’s move commits some of fashion’s most famous brands, including Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga to perhaps the luxury industry’s strongest paper policy. With its new policy, the Gucci Group has pledged to reduce the amount of paper it uses, eliminate fiber from high conservation value forests, and only to purchase recycled products or those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council by December 2010. With this policy, they are ensuring that all paper categories used by the group, from copy paper to shopping bags, do not come from endangered forests like those in Indonesia.

“The Gucci Group’s actions and commitments confirm its place as an industry leader,” said Lafcadio Cortesi, RAN’s Forest Campaign Director. “This move sets a bar for others in fashion and retail and demonstrates the foresight our society needs for our children and grandchildren to have standing rainforests and a stable climate.”

Worldwide, the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for twenty percent of all annual greenhouse emissions. The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia’s rapid deforestation account for around eight percent of global emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in United States. This huge carbon footprint from forest destruction has made non-industrialized Indonesia the third-largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind only the U.S. and China.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

New "Carbon Canopy" Brings Groups Together for U.S. Southern Forests

A newly announced group of diverse stakeholders say their work to build credibility within US forest carbon market will create incentives to protect, restore and conserve forests while providing sources of paper and wood products from forests managed to a high environmental standard.

Staples, and one-time foe Dogwood Alliance are teaming up with other conservation groups, wood products companies and landowners to announce a new, comprehensive project that will protect forests, combat climate change and help develop sources of paper and wood products certified to the high standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The Carbon Canopy is focused on forests in the Southern US, the largest paper and wood-producing region in the world where 90% of the forests are privately owned. Combined with the loss of forests to development, logging practices such as large scale clearcutting and the conversion of natural forests to plantations has created concerns about the long-term health of the region’s forests.As a first step to addressing these concerns, the Carbon Canopy will develop a pioneering project that will be based on rigorous environmental standards to determine how the emerging US forest carbon market can be credibly leveraged to pay private landowners to expand carbon stores in working forests in the South. The ultimate goal is to create financial incentives for landowners to increase forest conservation and restoration efforts, and to certify management practices to the high standards of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Through the pilot project the Carbon Canopy will “test” how southern forest landowners might benefit financially from expanding forest conservation and restoration on the ground in a working forest certified to the high standards of FSC certification.

The pilot project will be focused on increasing the abundance of older, more mature natural forests through select logging and thinning. In addition to expanding carbon sequestration the management practices will ensure the protection of water quality and biodiversity. The initial project will meet the rigorous carbon accounting standards of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VSC) and the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and the management practices will meet the high standards of FSC certification. Staples and Interface, have offered to pay the pilot project landowner(s) for increases in carbon stored and sequestered as a result of improved forest management practices on the ground. Pacific Forest Trust will manage the development of the pilot project.

“Never before have we seen this kind of collaboration in the South between forest industry, large US corporations, landowners and environmental groups to find real solutions” stated Danna Smith, Executive Director of the Dogwood Alliance.

“This project is a continuation of the important work that we began with Dogwood Alliance years ago to effect change and responsibly preserve and cultivate the forests of the US,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs of Staples Inc. “We are excited to be a part of a project focused on the longevity of our forests, one that will benefit the stewards of the land, positively impact future generations and support local and regional economies by creating products originating from forests managed to a high environmental standard.”

Carbon Canopy partners include: Staples, Dogwood Alliance, Columbia Forest Products, Pacific Forest Trust, FSC US, Rainforest Alliance, Green Press Initiative, Domtar, The Home Depot, Environmental Defense, Interface, The Forestland Group and The Keystone Center.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Obama Executive Order Mandates Recycled Paper to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Obama has issued an Executive Order directing the federal government to act as hundreds of leading corporations and other governments are and to review and reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions throughout its operational footprint. The action, if implemented effectively, could result in much greater efficiency and cost savings to taxpayers and stimulation on environmental innovation and green jobs in the marketplace.

The statement from the White House says that Executive Order 13423, "sets sustainability goals for Federal agencies and focuses on making improvements in their environmental, energy and economic performance. The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days; increase energy efficiency; reduce fleet petroleum consumption; conserve water; reduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies."

The direction clearly points to a review of paper use efficiency, to lower emissions and financial costs to the taxpayers. Also included explicitly in those "environmentally responsible products and technologies" is post-consumer recycled paper, and meeting agency defined minimum post-consumer recycled content.

Of course, as many readers may know, these minimums should already be the standard, as President Clinton first issued an Executive Order in his term which specifically created recycled paper content minimums for federal purchases. It is commonly held opinion that Clinton's Order is not currently enforced, nor has been for some time, and needs better oversight to achieve its results, and Government Accounting Office reports have suggested as much.

It is critical that the Steering Committee set up by this new Executive Order from the Obama Administration be an effective body, with transparency and authority to make this program successful. Secondly, it will be critical that the EPA consider increasing its minimum recycled content goals for some paper products, in response to a marketplace that has changed a great deal in the last decade.

Boosting recycled content purchasing would send strong signals to the marketplaces, particularly when occurring in conjunction with a corporate wave of responsible paper purchasing policies forecasting an increase in demand for recycled content. These market forces are creating jobs and rewarding green innovation move the U.S. economy into the 21st Century. Investment in a network of smaller, efficient recycled paper mills near urban centers to collect waster paper from these teeming "papersheds" will create green jobs and significantly reduce the worst environmental impacts of overconsumption of paper from natural forests.

Subscribe to the Paper Planet (see sidebar) to stay up to date on how this Executive Order is implemented and enforced.

Download the Executive Order HERE

Friday, September 04, 2009

What's In Your Eagle Ridge Paper?

CONSUMER ALERT: A U.S. consumer awareness alert from the Paper Planet for everyone who buys paper.

Buyer beware, Eagle Ridge Paper is a new marketing and distribution strategy by notorious forest and paper company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) to sell to the U.S. market.

You see, in the past decade, APP has been a disaster for international investors, been caught carrying out illegal logging in China, been blamed for a large portion of the forest fires that put Indonesia under the curse of a debilitating haze, been wiping out habitat for elephants and tigers and orangutans to the verge of extinction, violated agreements with large, mainstream environmental organizations including, FSC, WWF, and Rainforest Alliance, and lost contracts with big US corporate customers including Walmart, Office Depot, Staples, UniSource, Woolworths, FedEx Office and more to come soon. My sincere apologies for the run-on sentence, but there's a long, bad track record to cite, so blame Asia Pulp and Paper for my poor grammar too! APP has been doing lots of damage control, even trying to co-opt their Wikipedia entry, and taking out full page ads, but it seems the money could be better spent.

The Wall Street Journal recently quoted Mark Buckley of Staples in the following manner:

"We decided engagement was not possible anymore," Mr. Buckley said. "We haven't seen any indication that APP has been making any positive strides" to protect the environment. Remaining a customer of APP was "at great peril to our brand," he added.
Further questions arise around compliance with the new amendments to the Lacey Act, which regulates importation into the U.S. of illegal plant derived products (such as paper from trees). It will increase transparency and focus law enforcement efforts by requiring importers to declare the species, country of origin, and other related information. Can you buy this uncertified paper, from a region rampant with illegal logging, and be sure you are in compliance with the new law? For large corporate purchasers it is something you must look into or else face penalties which can be large if you are not able to demonstrate your due diligence. Learn about this Act and get advice from Environmental Investigation Agency.

Please look into some of this information, and consult with your trusted conservation contacts. See if the practices of this company are aligned with your own values and corporate responsibility plan. Can you really afford the risk of doing business on this problematic paper? If companies like Wal-Mart and Staples chose not too associate their brand with this paper, should you?

Most of us will never visit a tropical Indonesian rainforest. But everyone can spare 47 minutes with some popcorn for a beautifully shot film called GREEN, a new documentary film available free online at: http://greenfilm.free.fr/. Its beauty will move you. Its tracking of the impacts of the supply chain from the Indonesian rainforest to the marketplace will change the way you see the world.

Thanks for taking a closer look, doing so could save you a lot.

Scientists Urge Society to Recognize Boreal as Crucial Store of Carbon

A diverse group of scientific experts on the world's Boreal Forest ecosystem have published an article on ScienceDirect.com titled, Urgent preservation of boreal carbon stocks and biodiversity, which adds gravity to the need to alter human activities in the Boreal Forest to ensure ecosystems are managed lightly and that large areas be left alone altogether. With the boreal a major zone of pulp and paper production, this translates in a practical way for consumers, sustainability officers, and procurement professionals to ask their suppliers good questions and to look closely at what's in your paper.

Here is the abstract:

Containing approximately one-third of all remaining global forests, the boreal ecosystem is a crucial store of carbon and a haven for diverse biological communities. Historically, fire and insects primarily drove the natural dynamics of this biome. However, human-mediated disturbances have increased in these forests during recent years, resulting in extensive forest loss for some regions, whereas others face heavy forest fragmentation or threat of exploitation. Current management practices are not likely to maintain the attendant boreal forest communities, nor are they adequate to mitigate climate change effects. There is an urgent need to preserve existing boreal forests and restore degraded areas if we are to avoid losing this relatively intact biodiversity haven and major global carbon sink.
Here is the link to the full article.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bloomberg.com says International Paper the Next Monsanto

Bloomberg.com drew attention today to International Paper and their ArborGen partnership to develop genetically engineered trees for industrial plantations. The article touts ArborGen's exceptional prospects as an investment. It practically says "run, don't walk" to buy ArborGen stock. However, the article fails to note significant risk factors, including the immense ecological risks of this "Frankentree" technology and the overwhelming public opposition.

This article is a troublesome sign that genetically engineered trees are a severe threat to native biodiversity today, and no longer something that might come tomorrow. It begins with a chilling statement...

"International Paper Co., the world’s largest pulp and paper maker, plans to remake commercial forests in the same way Monsanto Co. revolutionized farms with genetically modified crops."
International Paper and Arborgen can expect a fight with scientists, citizens and conservation groups though. Over 100 organizations worldwide support a Vision for the paper industry that explicitly excludes genetically engineered trees. They believe that to take such incredible ecological risks, in order to sustain a level of consumption that is unnecessary and wasteful, is reckless and irresponsible. We don't need Frankentrees to meet our needs and have a comfortable life.

Recently, nearly 17,500 public comments were sent to the US Department of Agriculture opposing their recommendation for approval of an ArborGen proposal to plant over a quarter of a million genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. Only 39 favorable comments were received by the USDA. If allowed, the plantings would take place on 330 acres of land across seven states in the Southern U.S., to supposedly feed future cellulosic ethanol production. All but one of the field trials would be allowed to flower and produce seeds.

While the forecast for ArborGen's share value looks bright, things don't look so good for the forests of the southern U.S. The article goes on to say...
"The papermaker’s main interest in ArborGen is the potential of modified trees such as cold-tolerant eucalyptus to provide a sustainable source of hardwood for pulp, Liebetreu said. That becomes more important as the U.S. starts to make biofuels from timber, which may double harvest pressure in the U.S. South, International Paper said in a June 9 letter to USDA."
The Stop GE Trees Campaign is working to watchdog and organize action on this issue, and encourages you to share this Bloomberg article on your social media networks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

3rd Annual Green Grades Report Card Asks Companies: What's In Your Paper?

Companies active in the multi-billion dollar office supply sector got their report cards today, and while FedEx Office and Office Depot shored up their brands with impressive 'green' grades, companies like PaperlinX and Amazon.com came up short on critical environmental factors, earning less than a 'D' grade in each of the report card's six categories.

Download the report card here: http://www.forestethics.org/green-grades-09

Since 2007, environmental groups ForestEthics and Dogwood Alliance have collaborated on the Green Grades office supply report card to inform American consumers and large purchasers of office supply products about which companies' paper practices safeguard the environment and the world’s forests.

"Companies like FedEx Office, Unisource, Office Depot, United Stationers, and Target have used their purchasing power to stop the purchase of paper from some of the world's most destructive companies," said Daniel Hall of ForestEthics. "Unfortunately, companies like Xpedx and Amazon.com continue to fund forest destruction. And while Wal-Mart has made great strides on other environmental factors, they fall short on their paper practices."

This year's grades reflect that more companies recognize the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as the most authoritative and credible forest certification system. Several companies are shifting their purchasing toward FSC-certified paper-and away from forest sources certified by the industry-driven Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification scheme. SFI's reputation for crafting certifications to fit a destructive industry status quo has increasingly called into question its viability as a symbol of sustainability.

This year's report card also finds the sector moving away from bad actors including International Paper, a company notorious for reckless forest conversion and Endangered Forest logging in the Southern US, and also Asia Pulp & Paper, a company that continuously courts controversy for destroying endangered wildlife habitat and indigenous communities in Indonesia. Additionally, several companies have made efforts to avoid paper sourced from important caribou habitat in the Canadian Boreal Forest, the world's largest terrestrial ecosystem, including forests logged by Abitibi'Bowater.

In a special 'Greenwash' section, paper wholesalers Xpedx and PaperlinX are called out for making boasts about their sustainability positions that are not borne out by the facts, and that mislead customers who are looking to green their businesses, supply chains, and personal consumption.

"When environmental laggards exaggerate or distort claims of being green, they undercut the hard-earned achievements of the companies whose values are demonstrably greener than the rest," said Andrew Goldberg of Dogwood Alliance. "But a number of companies in this report card talk a green game while supporting destructive paper companies like International Paper and hiding behind less than credible certifications like those of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's In Your Paper....Coffin??

The Ecopod is a revolutionary and beautiful new design in coffins that brings together artisan skills with style, elegance and a respect for the environment.

Made by hand from recycled newspapers and hand finished with paper made from recycled silk and mulberry leaves, the Ecopod is available in a range of colours with screen printed motifs, plain white, or gold.

The Ecopod is suitable for cremation, or burial in woodland sites or traditional cemeteries, and biodegrades naturally over time when placed in the ground.

EcoPod also manufacture the ARKA Acorn Urn for the storage of ashes after cremation and, like the Ecopod, the urns are made from recycled paper, available in a number of colours and fully biodegradable.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Phone Book and Yellow Pages Rage Continues to Grow

A coherent "green rant" from the blog, Inhabitat, on phone book paper...

"Inspiration for this rant landed on doorsteps in my area a few weeks ago, and has been sitting there, becoming increasingly soggy and unsightly ever since. Digging around the internet I found that many other people are also upset about the massive yellow and white phone books forced upon them. Some areas even have four or five phone directory companies distributing books to each residence! Maybe the contract companies hired to drop off the books do not have the resources to consider individual addresses in metropolitan areas like Philadelphia, where I reside, but the litter created globally by the mass amounts of unwanted phone books seems inexcusable. Wanting to know who I could point a finger at, I set out to find the root cause of the issue."

Friday, August 07, 2009

Triple Pundit Offers Good Tips to Get More from Paper Calculator

The best tool out there to quickly calculate the environmental savings of changing your paper choices is the Paper Calculator from Environmental Defense. The tool is used heavily by companies to communicate to everyone from senior management and to consumers the tangible benefit towards environmental goals that looking at what's in your paper can deliver.

Triple Pundit Blog
on Monday offered some great advice on how the non-expert person can use the Calculator more easily and get extremely valuable information from it. Check it out....

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Invasion of GE Trees - Hightower Commentary

This is commentary from Jim Hightower's radio minute on the invasion of Genetically Engineered trees on their way to the Southern US... click the link to listen or just read the transcript below. Special thanks to The Stop GE Trees campaign for making this happen and getting permission for the repost...


(Listen to Hightower's commentary)

Here's a great idea: Let's bring into our country a genetically-engineered, non-native tree that is known to be wildly invasive, explosively flammable, and insatiably thirsty for ground water. Then let's clone thousands of these living firecrackers and plant them in forested regions across seven Southern states, allowing them to grow, flower, produce seeds, and spread into native environments.

Yes, this would be irresponsible, dangerous, and stupid - but apparently "Irresponsible, Dangerous, and Stupid" is the unofficial slogan of the U.S. Department Agriculture. In May, with little consideration of the devastating consequences for our native environment, USDA cavalierly rubberstamped a proposal by a profiteering corporation named ArborGen to do all of the above.

Substantially owned by International Paper, ArborGen shipped tissue from Brazilian eucalyptus trees to its New Zealand laboratories, where it was genetically altered to have more cellulose. New Zealand, however, outlaws plantings of genetically-engineered crops, so ArborGen sought out a more corporate-compliant country: Ours. The engineered eucalyptus was waved right into the good ol' USA to be cloned, and it's now awaiting final approval for outdoor release in our land.

This has happened with practically no media coverage or public participation. It is happening solely because a handful of global speculators hope to profit by making ethanol from cellulose-enhanced eucalyptus - never mind that their self-aggrandizement would put America's native forests in danger of irreversible contamination by these destructive, invasive Frankentrees.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Luckily, several scrappy grassroots groups have mobilized to bring common sense and public pressure to bear on USDA. For updates and action items, visit www.nogetrees.org.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark Reach Agreement

Canada's precious Boreal Forest is better conserved today. So are ancient forests around the world.

At a joint news conference in Washington DC, Greenpeace and the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the world’s largest tissue-product manufacturer, announced an historic agreement that will ensure greater protection and sustainable management of Canada's Boreal Forest. The agreement also will stand out as a model for forest-products companies worldwide.

After five years of relentless campaigning by Greenpeace, which is chronicled in an impressive visual timeline on their website, this is a tremendous victory for the movement to transform the pulp and paper industry.

Congratulations Greenpeace, and kudos to Kimberly-Clark for committing to these significant changes. The success of the discussions between Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark means a movement away from conflict to a new collaborative relationship to further promote forest conservation, responsible forest management, and the use of recycled fiber for the manufacture of tissue products.

“I am looking forward to working with Kimberly-Clark on the full implementation of this policy. Because of Kimberly-Clark’s size - it uses more than 4.5 million tonnes of fibre and pulp each year to make it products -, this new policy will have a profound effect on the global forest products industry.”-Richard Brooks, Greenpeace

Under the policy Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of the fibre used in its products will be from environmentally responsible sources. It will greatly increase its use of recycled fibre and fibre from forest certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards. By 2011, it will also increase the use of recycled and FSC fibre [from North America sources] to 40 per cent from 29.7 per cent in 2007. By 2012, the company will no longer use pulp from the Boreal Forest unless is it certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council.

The full policy and its annex can be downloaded here

Please join us in thanking Kimberly-Clark for supporting conservation of the Boreal Forest by sending its CEO a congratulations email

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Xerox Won't Talk so Greenpeace Shines a Light

Today, the XEROX building in downtown Montreal was declared a forest crime scene by a team of Greenpeace’s volunteers who were drawing attention to the impact of XEROX's paper on intact areas of Canada’s Boreal Forest.

Greenpeace has asked XEROX repeatedly in the past year to take steps to reduce the corporation’s impact on the Boreal Forest. Yet the company still refuses to examine its supply chain, eliminate its controversial sourcing of paper and meet with Greenpeace, according forest campaigners with the organization. Seems like a good time for Xerox to take a hard look

Xerox: it seems like a good time to take a hard look at WhatsInYourPaper.com.

More information on today's events and the campaign here.

Provocative campaign video below....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MeadWestvaco Boosts Shareholder Q2 Profits with Help From US Taxpayers

MeadWestvaco announced its second quarter report to shareholders this week, and shareholders received a boost from US taxpayers thanks to the black liquor tax credit loophole, which pays 50 cents/gallon for burning qualifying, "alternative fuels." The IRS has been allowing paper companies to claim the tax credit under a 2007 loophole added to a 2005 highway transportation bill by former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to bring US taxpayer aide to the fish processing industry.

Rueters says....

Excluding a $112 million benefit for the use of alternative fuels and restructuring charges of $25 million, profit was 22 cents per share, topping the analysts' average expectation of 1 cent, according to Reuters Estimates.
Conservation groups disagree with the structure of this industry aid for its exclusion of recycled and groundwood mills, putting those generally more environmentally preferable at a market disadvantage. Only chemical, or "kraft," mills in the US qualify for the money. The groups also contend that when the tax credit expires later this year, jobs will still be lost because we have not invested in necessary recycling and energy efficiency infrastructure to compete in a low carbon economy. The current policy, made by loophole, results in overproduction, suppressed prices, trade disputes, and temporarily rising stock value. As an alternative, conservation groups support federal investment to create green jobs in recycled fiber collection and re-manufacturing in North America and energy efficient technology upgrades to existing mills.

In other company news, MeadWestvaco Consumer and Office Supplies recently earned Forest Stewardship Council "Chain of Custody" certification. A good first step, and hopefully the first of many steps through to improving management in the forest and the footprint of their entire operations. The Paper Planet will follow and report on how this "Chain of Custody" certification does or does not lead to changes in product lines and in the forest, and look forward to more good progress to come from MeadWestvaco.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Activists Arrested

16 Greenpeace Canada activists were arrested yesterday for blockading the offices of the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and delivering Quebec lumber logged and sold by AbitibiBowater, as an act of protest against a new forestry law, bill 57. Forest campaigners say the bill, "will mean the further degration of [Quebec's] forests and the eventual disappearance of woodland caribou."

Read more and see more photos here....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FSC Hits 100 Million Acre Mark in North America

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) reports that the area of U.S. and Canadian forests managed to its stringent environmental and social standards surpassed the 100 million-acre mark in June, representing 40% growth since January 2008 and helping solidify FSC’s position as the fastest-growing forest certification system in the world (UN FAO, 2007).

“The core driver of this growth is a shared commitment among landowners, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to conserve forest ecosystems and safeguard the rights of native peoples and local communities,” says Corey Brinkema, President of FSC-US. “And while this is a major achievement, it remains but one shared step in doing the right thing for forests, people and wildlife.”

read the full press release....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dogwood Alliance on IP's FSC Chain of Custody Announcment

The US conservation group Dogwood Alliance, the leader in southern US forest protection, has issued a statement regarding International Paper's announcement regarding FSC Chain of Custody certification.

It begins...

This week, IP announced Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certification at a number of its mills in the US claiming “the largest FSC manufacturing platform across the globe.” Contrary to SFI, FSC is the only forest products certification system in existence today that is supported by the broader conservation community, including Dogwood Alliance. It is the only certification system that provides meaningful protection for endangered forests and restrictions on the conversion of natural forests to plantations, large-scale clearcutting and the use of chemicals in plantations.

So, has IP seen the light or is this just another attempt at greenwashing?

Read more....

Support For Bill Needed to Save Paper Recycling

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, from the 1st District of Arizona, has introduced a bill to close the "black liquor loophole" costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Since early this year paper companies have been raking in billions of dollars by claiming 50 cents/gallon of "black liquor," a partly organic, mostly solid sludge created in the chemical pulping process, and which is burned to help power their mills which use virgin wood fiber.

The goof by Congress picked up on by paper companies has resulted in a and a trade war between the US and Canada (WSJ calls it the "Black Liquor War") and is driving out recycled papermaking jobs. This bill intends to level the playing field and help save recycled paper mills and support their workers.

The release says:

"In addition to costing taxpayers billions, the credit creates an uneven playing field by placing companies that make recycled paper at a competitive disadvantage, because their process does not produce black liquor. Closing the loophole will save recycled paper mills and keep employees in those mills working."

Since 2006, Catalyst's mill in Snowflake, Arizona has been forced to lay off more than one hundred people – about one-quarter of its workforce. The mill is a leading employer in Navajo County, and a shutdown would leave its 324 remaining workers unemployed.

Rep. Kirkpatrick’s legislation would close the tax loophole as soon as the bill is signed into law. Ending the tax break as late as October 1 would save taxpayers an estimated $750 million this year. But with jobs in her district at risk and our budget deficit growing steadily, Rep. Kirkpatrick intends to stop the subsidy as soon as possible.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Mesa, Arizona), a noted advocate for fiscal responsibility, is an original co-sponsor for the bill.

“The federal government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in the economy, and that’s precisely what the black liquor tax credit loophole has done,” said Rep. Flake. “It has put some paper mills at a disadvantage, has complicated our trade obligations with Canada, and has been an enormous waste of federal money. The black liquor tax credit needs to be repealed immediately.”

Read the whole press release here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Canada: Globe and Mail Gets with Responsible Paper

The Globe and Mail announced Wednesday a new procurement policy for newsprint and other papers, requiring its paper suppliers to be environmentally responsible.

“The Globe’s policy commits to practices that will eliminate the use of papers derived from high conservation value forests, supporting key environmental and climate impacts in the newspaper publishing sector,” said Phillip Crawley, The Globe and Mail’s Publisher and CEO. “We’re proud to be at the forefront in our industry in helping to safeguard and protect the world and Canada’s forests and climate.”

The policy involves The Globe’s commitment to:
• reduce the use of fibre from ancient and endangered forests, such as the Canadian Boreal Forests; Temperate Rainforests of British Columbia, Alaska and Chile; and the Tropical Rainforests of Indonesia and the Amazon;
• progressively maximize recycled content in all of its papers by working with suppliers to establish interval benchmarks for post-consumer recycled content;
• support a preference for virgin wood fibre certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent, non-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests;
• actively encourage suppliers to eliminate the production of persistent organic pollutants or chlorine bleach;
• explore the use of non-wood agricultural residues;
• implement and expand internal business processes that will reduce paper use and encourage maximized paper recycling.

“Now, more than ever, newspapers need to show environmental leadership and innovation,” said Nicole Rycroft from leading environmental publishing advocates, Canopy. “And as the first major North American daily national newspaper to develop an Ancient Forest Friendly policy, The Globe is showing how it's done."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Canada Makes Its Black Liquor Move

Canadian Pulp and Paper producers who invest in "improved energy efficiency and environmental performance" may qualify for funding from a new, $1-billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt announced today.

The Green Transformation Program intends to provide funding of $0.16 (Canadian) per litre of black liquor, up to a maximum program total of $1 billion. (about 53 US cents/gallon). Black liquor is a liquid by-product of the chemical pulping process used to generate renewable heat and power. Eligible companies participating in the Green Transformation Program will be required to invest these funds over the next three years in capital expenditures that make improvements to energy efficiency or environmental performance on any pulp and paper mill in Canada, including mechanical mills.

“By making a smart investment today, we are laying the groundwork for a greener, more secure future for the pulp and paper sector and the people who work in it,” Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt (pictured) said in making the announcement in Ottawa.

Details of what "improvements to energy efficiency or environmental performance" exactly means, but at least this approach is more intentional, transparent, and suggests investment in the industry that will provide long term benefits. This is contrast to the process in the US: backdoor, sneaky, no strings attached, and extremely dubious qualification for a payment for burning black liquor sludge in the United States.

Last week two senior US Senators proposed draft legislation to close the loophole in the United States.

Today's announcement also said the Government of Canada is providing $170 million over two years under Canada's Economic Action Plan to help companies develop new products and processes and capitalize on new market opportunities internationally. Could this be recycled products, agriculture residue papers, and totally chlorine free bleached papers?

Photo Credit: Chris Wattie, Reuters files

Saturday, June 13, 2009

US Senate Leaders Join Obama and EPN in Seeking to Close Black Liquor Loophole

Bloomberg reported yesterday that US Senators Max Baucus (Democrat-Montana) and Charles Grassley (Republican-Iowa), have introduced legislation to close the black liquor loophole that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, decreasing efficiency at US pulp mills, and threatening the demise of the US recycled paper industry.

Though some from the industry are being very misleading about the original intent of this alternative fuels tax credit, Senator Baucus is factually correct, “This credit was not meant to provide a boon to companies for a process they’ve already been doing for several decades,” Baucus said.

Meanwhile, Domtar is playing games with its workers, encouraging them to rally and lobby against he loophole in Canada, and urging them to rally and lobby for it in the United States. Their ideal outcome: A nice big handout from BOTH the US and Canada. The losers: all of us, including the workers, as this temporary financial bailout will not do anything to ensure that long term failures of the industry to be competitive are resolved and that the industry in unprepared for the coming low-carbon economy. Next year, without another miracle and/or corporate welfare from the state, it will be another crisis and more massive layoffs.

Vision from the Boreal Released by Greenpeace Canada

Greenpeace released a new vision for Canada’s Boreal forest on June 10th that will reinvigorate northern forest communities, improve the struggling forest economy and create new jobs while protecting the health and integrity of forests for future generations. Also this week, Time magazine featured the issue of tissue paper sourced from old-growth forests in the Canadian Boreal and Greenpeace's campaign against the current practices of Kimberly-Clark/Kleenex brand.

The document, Greenpeace’s Vision for a New Conservation Based Forest Economy in Canada’s Boreal Forest, is an innovative look at how forest communities, industry and environmental groups can work together to protect forest integrity and help the forest sector, whose troubles have driven northern communities to brink of collapse.

“Canada needs a new vision for its Boreal Forest and needs it now,” said Kim Fry, Greenpeace forest campaigner. “Ontario’s forest communities have been struggling since long before the current economic crisis. Our vision shows how with the right political leadership, forest industry initiative and community support, we can act immediately to save our forests and strengthen our economy.”

The new Greenpeace vision comes after a week of mass cross-country protests from Canada’s forestry workers who demanded provincial and federal action to stop the years of mill closures and job losses. Through the vision the forest industry and workers would work together to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and most importantly, forest sustainability.

Highlights of the vision include:

  • Increased community control over surrounding forest areas,
  • Strict adherence to Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) standards to ensure Industrial practices protect the fragile biodiversity of Canada’s Boreal Forest,
  • Shift towards value added forestry products as well as economic diversification, and
  • More community input and involvement in political policy for the Boreal Forest.

“There is a real opportunity for forestry workers and environmentalists to come together and build good, long-term, sustainable jobs,” said Fry. “With the right vision, political leadership and resources, it is possible to build a sustainable forest economy now so that our children inherit forests that are healthy and intact in the future.”

Update on Gunns Pulp Mill in Tasmania

A dispatch from The Wilderness Society Australia....

Gunns has taken its search for a joint partner for the native forest-destroying pulp mill international.


Australia's largest woodchipping company has said it intends to make an announcement on who will be the joint venture partner for the pulp mill this month.

We now know that Swedish pulp and paper company Södra is considering becoming a partner with Gunns Ltd to build its controversial mill.

Together we helped ensure Gunns' own banker, ANZ, wouldn't fund the pulp mill.

Now we need to take urgent action to make sure Södra doesn't sign off on the destruction of Tasmania's world-class, carbon-rich native forests.

Send a message now to tell Sodra's CEO - Mr Leif Brodén - that Tasmania's world-class, carbon-rich forests are a global treasure.

Any organisation considering being involved in Gunns' pulp mill needs to be aware that they will be supporting a project which is opposed by the majority of Australians, as well as people around the world who want a safe climate and a healthy environment.

We urgently need to get as many messages to Mr Brodén as possible to ensure he understands this is the most strongly opposed project in Australia.

Act now: http://www.wilderness.org.au/stopmillfunding

And a response from Sodra.....


Swedish pulp and paper company Södra has released a statement on Gunns’ proposed pulp mill. The Wilderness Society welcomed Södra’s commitment to only consider a 100% percent Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plantation based mill that used totally chlorine free technology (TCF) and continued to call for an alternative site to be full assessed.

“We welcome Södra’s commitment to only consider a 100% percent FSC certified, plantation based mill, that uses totally chlorine free technology (TCF), this is a clear improvement on Gunns’ environmentally destrucitvie proposal,” said Paul Oosting, pulp mill campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

“This will mean no native forests being used for pulping or to burn to generate power as part of the pulp mill,” said Mr. Oosting. “Gunns need to go back to the drawing board if they are to have any relationship with Södra.”

“If Södra are to continue to consider Gunns’ pulp mill project despite it not meeting any of the three criteria they have set then they also must fully assess alternative locations as the Tamar Valley is totally unacceptable,” said Mr Oosting.

Södra’s statement[1], released overnight says:

“If Södra is to engage in any pulp mill project, our high environmental standards have to be met. These standards includes among other things FSC certification and environmentally friendly bleaching technology (TCF preferred). TCF means totally chlorine free. Involvement in any project in the southern hemisphere would require 100 per cent plantation forest to be used.”

“This is a step in the right direction, but more will need to be done if a pulp mill in Tasmania is to be considered by Södra. The livelihoods and health of families in the Tamar Valley and Aboriginal heritage and values on the site make Gunns’ current location totally unacceptable,” concluded Mr Oosting.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Action at Andritz in Vienna on Behalf of Tasmanian Forests

The campaign against Gunns' proposed Tasmania pulp mill moved to Austria on Thursday as Greenpeace and local N.G.O. ECA Watch Austria transformed the headquarters of the Austrian company Andritz into a tree-eating monster, pointing to the significant role Andritz will play in destroying some of the world’s last high conservation value forests.

“International efforts to stop Gunns’ pulp mill being built are ramping up. Greenpeace believes it is crucial to support the campaign to prevent Tasmania’s carbon rich forests from being destroyed,” said Greenpeace Head of Campaigns, Steve Campbell.

“The worlds forests are critical in our fight to combat climate change - any company that gets involved in a project like Gunns’ pulp mill will face huge public opposition around the globe,” said Mr Campbell.

The Austrian Export Credit Agency OeKB - which is currently assessing whether or not to be part of the funding for the pulp mill - was also targeted at the action. In July 2008, The Wilderness Society of Australia, Greenpeace Austria and ECA Watch Austria met with OeKB to inform them of the proposed pulp mills impacts.

“Any organisation considering being involved in Gunns’ pulp mill needs to be aware that they will be supporting a project which is opposed by the majority of Australians, as well as people around the world who want a safe climate and a healthy environment,” said Paul Oosting pulp mill campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

More info

photo: copyright Greenpeace/Prinz Kurt

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time for Michelle Obama to bin that catalog!

A mail order fashion company that recently attracted Michelle Obama has ranked bottom in a study of paper wasters. The First Lady was spotted ordering a Boden catalogue on a recent visit to the UK. However, Boden has just scored zero points and has been labelled 'waster' in a project assessing UK companies for their willingness to address paper efficiency. If Mrs Obama wants to look good today, she needs to send her Boden catalogue to be recycled and ask the company to stop sending out junk mail.

The Shrink project has published a scorecard of the Winners and Wasters in the Paper Chase. It ranks 20 major UK companies on the efficiency of their paper use. Top of the pack is financial company Standard Life, with catalogue retailers Boden and Freemans at the bottom.

The scorecard shows that some financial companies and magazine publishers are taking up the challenge to cut paper use with great enthusiasm. The Shrink project website show-cases some of the ways these companies have found to save paper.

However, catalogue companies perform woefully, seeming to be completely uninterested in reducing their junk mail volumes, even though this would save them money and could improve their image. Boden and Freemans were the least responsive of all the companies approached by the project.

The American First Lady's interest in Boden scored the company a frenzy of media coverage and free advertising as fashion pundits pondered what clothes she might order. This was a public relations boon for the company, which is usually associated in Britain with the right wing of society, selling clothes popular with Conservative politicians. Today Mrs Obama has another reason to question whether dressing from Boden would be sending the right message to her admirers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Greenpeace Tissue Guide Now iPhone App

Greenpeace announces today the release of an iPhone application for its popular “Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide.” The tool gives consumers a quick and easy way to choose the greenest toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and paper napkins sold at the supermarket.

Features of the application include:
• The ability to quickly compare household paper brands while in the grocery store;
• A list of environmentally preferable tissue, toilet paper, paper towel and paper napkin brands.
• Brand specific information including the percentage of recycled content, the percentage of post-consumer content, and the bleaching method.

The guide gives a thumbs-up to Green Forest, Natural Value and Seventh Generation, while recommending that shoppers avoid products like Kleenex, Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Brawny, and Scott.

“Customers who download the iPhone or Android version of the Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide can compare brands available at their local grocery store to find which brands are most environmentally sustainable,"said Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Lindsey Allen.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Washington State Gets Lean and Goes Green with New Paper Law

This week, Washington State continued its leadership in environmentally responsible procurement, reducing government waste and spurring creative green economic recovery efforts with a big announcement. Governor Chris Gregoire (pictured) signed the paper recycling and conservation act, sponsored in the 2009 legislative session by Reps. Lynn Kessler and Kevin Van De Wege, which directs state government to:

  • Reduce printing and copy paper use by at least 30 percent, beginning no later than July 1, 2010.
  • Purchase 100 percent recycled content paper for printing and copying by Dec. 31, 2009.
  • Recycle 100 percent of copy and printing paper in all buildings with 25 employees or more.
  • Restrict future leases or purchases of printers and copiers to models that will efficiently use 100 percent recycled content white sheet bond paper.
  • Give priority to purchasing from companies that produce paper in facilities powered by a renewable energy source.

"This new law is a win for the state of Washington," said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, when signing the bill into law. "It saves money for taxpayers while reducing waste. In addition, it encourages innovation and job growth. With a growing market for recycled paper products, our Washington paper mills will create living-wage jobs to produce the paper products we need in today's world."

The Department of Ecology (Ecology) estimates that the increased paper conservation and recycling requirements will save state taxpayers about $1 million per year. According to the agency's waste reduction experts, the increased cost of purchasing 100 percent recycled paper can be offset by setting printers to double-sided printing and by paper conservation efforts.

The additional high-quality white office paper collected due to this bill will provide material for manufacturers of recycled printing and writing paper in the state and help create jobs.

What are you waiting for? What's in your paper?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

UK's & US's Paper Recycling May End Up In Landfill Afterall...

The UK's and US's easy paper recycling solution of shipping much of it to China appears to be coming to an end sparking fears, with some evidence, that much of the paper collected for recycling will end up in landfill after all reports Ethical Corporation: "Export orders to China are down as cash-strapped consumers and businesses in the west buy less. Consequently, Chinese manufacturers are reducing their output or going to the wall as the orders slow. Less packaging is needed. Prices for recycled paper peaked in August 2008 and have since dropped by 50-70%. The days of paper that can be recycled fetching $100 a tonne are gone (and the one time market peak of $200 a distant memory). Prices are down to as low as $28 a tonne for mixed paper, $40 for newspaper and $35 a tonne for corrugated boxes.

This means prices are falling below what it costs to collect and ship the waste paper from the west. At present, only the paper collected near port towns and not requiring the additional cross-country trucking is economical … and then only just. This means targets for recycling set by the industry and government in Europe and the US are becoming harder to meet... Unable to sell it or find local recyclers, there is a risk that many western collectors of waste will end up tipping it into landfills. That is reportedly already happening, sparking anger among environmentally conscious western consumers who diligently sift their waste in the hope they are helping to protect the environment... The US has the same problem. California was a major shipper of waste paper, as well as card, metal and other products to China, but demand, and consequently prices, are significantly down. California’s waste collectors cannot sell their waste and cannot afford to warehouse it, so they are using landfills."

Perhaps what we need are some recycling facilities at home, rather like all the ones we've been shutting down recently perhaps...?