Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Bear Rainforest Promise Becomes a Reality

The promise made three years ago to protect one-third of British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest and develop the foundations for a conservation-based economy in the region has been fulfilled. Today’s announcement is greatly welcomed by ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three leading environmental groups that have worked with the B.C. government, First Nations and industry leaders to ensure the promise would be kept. (The three are member organizations of the Environmental Paper Network.) Today’s announcement lays out the tremendous ecological and economic gains for the region and the long-term commitment to ensure the health of the rainforest and communities.

“A vision born from environmental and economic necessity is becoming a reality on Canada’s west coast,” said Stephanie Goodwin of Greenpeace. “It’s a conservation model that other parts of the world can look to, a model that shows how protection of ecological values and human well-being can be advanced without undermining each other.”

Major milestones achieved are:

  • 2.1 million hectares, or 5 million acres, an area half the size of Switzerland, have been legally protected from logging.
  • $120 million is available to First Nation communities to help kick-start a new conservation economy as an alternative to logging throughout the rainforest.
  • A new system of ‘lighter touch’ logging, based on Ecosystem-based Management (EBM), has been legislated. This system maintains 50 per cent of the natural level of old growth forest in the region. This translates to an additional 700,000 hectares (1.7 million acres) of forest set aside from logging.

All parties involved in achieving today’s major milestones agree that transitioning from a resource-based economy to a conservation-based economy will require more time. Environmental groups, along with the B.C. government, industry and First Nations, have endorsed a five-year plan that will see the long-term goals of low ecological risk and high quality of life in communities achieved by 2014. To meet this goal, annual reports will assess progress.

“The Great Bear Rainforest is now one of the most protected forest regions in the world,” said Jens Wieting of Sierra Club BC. “But we must continue to meet key milestones we’ve set to achieve our long term goals of full ecosystem health and thriving local communities.”

The five-year plan includes:

  • Milestones for reaching 70 per cent old growth maintained over time, from 50 per cent
  • Ongoing science-based collaborative planning
  • Development of a reserve network outside of the protected areas

“If everyone remains committed to the goals and follows through, this astoundingly rich coastal ecosystem will continue to support iconic species like the Spirit bear, the conservation of massive carbon storehouses in thousand year old trees and a bright future for the First Nations communities,” said Valerie Langer of ForestEthics.

Today’s announcement is the result of intensive work by the BC government and First Nations governments in collaboration with Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Canfor, Catalyst Paper, Interfor and the three environmental organizations.

For more information, please contact:
Valerie Langer, ForestEthics 604-307-6448
Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC 250-889-9605
Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace 604-761-6722

For more information visit: www.savethegreatbear.org

“What Makes Better Paper Better?” Webinar

If you are interested in learning more about the tools available at WhatsInYourPaper.com, including the new Paper Steps guidance to the hierachy of environmental papers, check out this free webinar opportunity with Green America.

This month's Better Paper Project Webinar builds on January's event, "Building Blocks for Wise Environmental Publishing,” with a discussion explaining the key components of the environmental papers for magazine publishers. The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) will be co-hosting this Webinar, explaining what makes better paper better and how to use the EPN’s Paper Steps from the What’s In Your Paper Web site.

What Makes Better Paper Better is Thursday April 2, 2009 at 2:00 PM Eastern.

Register for the Webinar at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/n0qqv77x9q5x

Joshua Martin, director of the EPN will explain how their new What’s In Your Paper Website provides clear “Paper Steps” for paper users, and Frank Locantore, director of the Green America Better Paper Project will focus on the action steps that magazine publishers can take to begin using “better paper.” Question and answer period to follow presentation.

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The Green America Better Paper Project is a non profit based in Washington DC that provides free assistance to magazines looking to do better by the environment. Since 2001, the Green America Better Paper Project (formerly Co-op America’s Magazine PAPER Project) has helped over 100 magazine begin or continue using environmentally responsible paper by working with magazine staff and promoting leaders through national bookstore chains like Barnes and Noble and with programs like the Aveda Environmental Awards and SustainPrint.com Environmental Leadership Awards.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's In Your Paper's Carbon Footprint?

by Jim Ford of Climate for Ideas for the Paper Planet

If you hear it from some paper producers, not much really. The facts, though, tell a different story. The impact of paper on the climate is large and the total life cycle of paper means that paper is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive products we use on a daily basis. The EPN's new report, Carbon Neutral Paper: Fact or Fiction, helps to lay out the facts.

First, every paper production process and life cycle uses fossil fuels. Transport of materials, purchased energy from the grid, oil, coal and gas used at the mill to make energy are key examples. These emissions are essentially irreversible even over the longest term. The use of chemicals and fossil fuels to make paper, which are large, also have indirect emissions associated with them.

Second, making virgin paper uses large amounts of biomass, as we have discussed in this blog and the new report by EPN makes very clear. The very large majority of this biomass ends up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Trees may grow again, but this depletion of the biomass in forests is in the short and medium terms also irreversible. Each time we cut down trees and burn them or allow them to decay we have to start the carbon sequestration process all over again, usually at rates of sequestration lower than what we had when the trees were in healthy forests. Thus, we are at a constant deficit relative to the other option: leaving the forests intact to continue to grow and sequester carbon. There are also impacts in the forest, in soils and forest debris that emit carbon when they are logged. No tree planting program reverses that impact.

Third, much of the paper we use ends up in landfills where the carbon in the paper is converted to methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Until we recycle all of our paper, or capture the methane released from landfills to use as an energy source, this remains a large source of climate-chaning greenhouse gases.

The answer that we propose is simple: seek Low Carbon papers. We need to understand our emissions, where they are in the process, what the relative emissions are and seek to reduce them. Some answers are simple: use recycled paper and use less paper. Some answers will require more time and dedication, like working with paper suppliers to ensure that forest management is the least impactful it can be where virgin wood is needed; improve the recycling system to divert as much paper back into a useful life and away from landfills; or reduce emissions from existing mills.

Editors Note: This is the fifth installment in an 8 week "What's In Your Paper?" series on the Paper Planet focusing on specific sectors of the paper industry or paper from specific Endangered Forest regions. Subscribe or check back each Wednesday for a new posting in this series.

"Green Fuel" myth starts to pay

International Paper is receiving IRS money (a tax rebate) from the US Government because it is burning black liquor? Black liquor is the left over from the biomass of trees during the kraft (chemical) pulping process. The paper industry likes to look it as a waste products, but most pulp mills, perhaps all, see it as an integral energy source and most would not be able to run without it as a source, economically speaking.

There are several problems with this:

There is no question that this fuel source is not sustainable, green or anything of the sort. It certainly has carbon dioxide, N2O and methane emissions. But look at how a forest industry blog talks about it (emphasis mine):

International Paper is mixing diesel fuel in with the black liquor at a rate of .5gpm. While this does not add much BTU value to the black liquor, it does classify it as another green fuel because it generating power and not emitting anything to the environment. By classifying it as another green fuel, International Paper gets a tax credit for every .5gpm burned for every one gallon of black liquor burned.
So, the government has been convinced that this is 'green fuel' and at least some in the paper industry are convinced this has no 'emissions'.

Of course it has emissions: International Paper took trees clearcut from forests or plantations and burned them in their mill for energy. Those trees' carbon molecules are now carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It will take some decades for this forest or plantation to get back to the carbon level where it started... whereas if we did not harvest that forest, we would have all that carbon sequestered safely in the trees, plus the additional carbon that would have been sequestered in the meantime.

Let's not forget that IP gets a lot of its wood from high conservation value forests, natural forests converted to plantations, and similar areas. Moreover, many of its sources of wood are not even certified under the lax and toothless environmental marketing program, the SFI.

This is an insane policy by the US Government. It's gone past greenwashing for the virgin paper industry and gone into straight payouts for destroying forests. Wow.

More on this from a paper union newsletter (on the last page).

By classifying it as another green fuel, the Company gets a tax credit for every .5gpm burned for every one gallon of black liquor burned. This equals out to approximately $385 per minute, and over $130 million dollars a year at this mill alone! Every recovery unit in MeadWestvaco is now do-ing this.

The US government, the American people, are subsidizing the burning of trees and chemicals in order to make packaging and junk mail.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It’s time to have “the talk” with your printer.

by Keaty Gross of the Green America Better Paper Project

So, you’ve decided you’d like to switch to better paper. Congratulations! You’ve made an important decision that will significantly and quantifiably reduce your carbon emissions, water pollution and energy use. Now it’s time to have “the talk” with your printer. This can be a sensitive conversation because, as you know, every printer has relationships with different paper mills in order to get good deals on paper pricing. Perhaps the printer has a relationship with a paper mill that doesn’t have a de-inking unit as part of their paper machine and therefore the mill has to buy de-inked pulp (collected and “cleaned” recycled paper) from the open market. Typically it is these mills that claim using recycled paper isn’t feasible, is too expensive, isn’t a good environmental choice, etc. – a refrain your printer may then repeat to you.

To better prepare you for this conversation, we’ve compiled a simple list of helpful questions to ask your printer:

  • Questions about paper:

  • Do any of their “house sheets” contain recycled content and how much?

  • Does the printer and paper mill have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification?

  • What paper mills do they buy from that have deinking units connected to their paper machines?

  • What concerns might they have about using recycled paper? Your printers may express a valid concern about the quality of any paper, recycled or not, but often those fears can be allayed by running a test.

  • Is the cost/expense of recycled paper an issue? If so, what volume purchase would mitigate any price premium?

  • Do they have other customers that are asking for recycled paper?

  • Can you work with your printer to increase the volume purchases by getting other magazines/customers to buy in?

  • Would they be amenable to “transparent collaboration” where you as the customer agree to pay a fair price for the paper if they share with you the true costs of recycled paper?

  • Questions about printing:

  • Do they capture volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and to what percent?

  • How do they power their facilities and do they buy power from the grid, and/or do they buy renewable energy?

  • Do they have an environmental policy or statement they operate by?

Maintaining good relationships with your printer is important, so we recommend that you communicate the value of continuing your business with them and that you want them to be your partner in your effort to improve your publication’s green attributes. Creating a stewardship policy will help articulate to your printer the short and long-term objectives for your publication. To further prepare for your meeting with your printer, visit the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Myths section on WhatsInYourPaper.com, or contact Better Paper Project Director Frank Locantore for additional advice.

Neenah Paper Breaks Out New Blackberry App

Neenah paper says it is releasing a series of BlackBerry® smartphone applications for its sales team and its customers, touting itself as the first to do so in the industry. The first App, which caught the interest of the Paper Planet, is a mobile version of Neenah's Eco-Calculator, fueled by information from the Paper Calculator developed by EPA and Environmental Defense Fund, which allows users to quickly calculate the benefits of using various amounts of recycled content in their paper purchase. Displayed immediately on the screen, the savings are measured in wood, water, energy, carbon emissions, and solid waste.

Neenah says: "This instant access is an important tool when energy conservation and sustainability are contributing factors in the customer’s decision-making process for today’s paper specification."

In other words, customers today want to know what's in your paper.

Learn more about Neenah's new App here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's in Your Junk Mail is Changing the Climate

by Ginger 
Cassady of ForestEthics for the Paper Planet

As we all know climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Five of the seven hottest years on record occurred in the past decade, and we continue to see indications that our planet is warming at an unsustainable rate. Taking on Climate Change is going to require some hard but obvious choices. We need
to make a large commitment and investment in energy efficiency, reduce our greenhouse gases and address measures to stop deforestation. Again, obvious but hard choices.

These battles on Capitol Hill are sure to drag on. Meanwhile, there’s one choice we can make right now that requires almost no debate: getting rid of Junk Mail! More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the United States each year, which comes out to 848 pieces per household. Our research has determined that the production, distribution, and disposal of all that junk mail contributes to climate change by via what we call the Junk Mail Effect: the emission of over 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases which is equivalent to the emissions of 10 million passenger cars. Getting rid of junk mail is one of the easiest choices we could make to make a difference in the battle against climate change.

Unfortunately, there’s not a one-stop-shop where you can request to be removed from junk mail lists, or at least not one that’s actually enforceable. All the current systems are voluntary; it's up to the junk mailer to honor your request your not. But we believe that it should be up to YOU. That’s why we are pushing for the first ever National Do Not Mail registry. With the stakes for our planet so high, the time is now for a fast, free, and enforceable way to stop the wastefulness and uselessness of unwanted junk mail.

Editors Note: This is the fourth installment in an 8 week "What's In Your Paper?" series on the Paper Planet focusing on specific sectors of the paper industry or paper from specific Endangered Forest regions. Subscribe or check back each Wednesday for a new posting in this series.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Planting our way out of climate change?

Tony Juniper has a new op-ed piece in the Guardian about China's attempt to green up. China's efforts might have, or probably will have (if they do it right and plant at least semi-natural forest) a positive impact on soil erosion (China is suffering from a serious dust-bowl), though we don't know by how much, and will take a little carbon out of the atmosphere.

But Tony is right, planting trees will have very little impact on the climate as a direct impact. Young trees and newly established forests don't accumulate much carbon very fast. It usually takes decades, especially in temperate zones, for forests to reach their maximum carbon accumulation rate. Check out the graph below, derived from direct measurements of temperate forests and their carbon accumulation:

The study referenced here is Gough et al., 2007, ‘The legacy of harvest abd fire on ecosystem carbon storage in a north temperate forest.’ Global Change Biology 13, 1935 – 1949.

Look at the graph. It is not until around 50 years since disturbance that a forest is at its maximum C accumulation rate. Again, it takes decades

This probably speaks most to the need to keep standing forests just that - standing.

How does this blog post relate to the paper industry? The answer is that we as a society must move the paper industry toward leaving more forests standing for longer: older forests are better at accumulating carbon from the atmosphere than newly established forests.

The scariest scenario from the paper industry is that they are moving toward using more biomass from trees, and thus taking more and more trees from forests that might otherwise be left to absorb more and more carbon.

The better option? How about using less paper and recycling more?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's In Your Magazine Paper?

by Keaty Gross of the Green America Better Paper Project for the Paper Planet

Magazine paper uses similar resources to office, book or newsprint paper: wood fiber, water, energy, and a variety of minerals and chemicals.
The distinguishing characteristic of magazine paper is the use of printer-applied coatings to prevent smudging and to provide a desirable finish. "Better papers" achieve a comparably low environmental impact through the use of recycled fiber or agricultural residue, low carbon energy sources, low/no impact coatings and chlorine alternatives such as oxygen delignification.

There are two environmental questions that should be factored into the printer-applied coating selection process: What is the environmental impact of the coating’s production/application? -and- How does the coating affect the magazine’s recyclability? The best option for the environment is no coating, but since that isn’t realistic for most newsstand publications, how can magazines choose the most responsible coating?

  • The benefit of varnish is that it potentially has the lowest toxicity and is highly recyclable, but it may yellow over time. It comes in gloss, dull and satin, and can be tinted by adding pigment to the varnish. Because varnish is essentially ink without pigment, it requires its own printing unit on press.

  • The benefit of aqueous is that it will not yellow over time, may emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than varnish and is more environmentally friendly than UV coating because it is water based; however, it does contain trace amounts of ammonia and costs nearly twice as much as varnish.

  • The benefit of UV is that it provides greater protection and color stability than the other two varieties of coating, and because it is cured with light and not heat no solvents enter the atmosphere. Unfortunately, its durability and chemical resistance also make it the most difficult to recycle.
The ideal printer-applied coating would be one that provides the protection required for the magazine, separates easily so that the paper can be recycled into new paper, uses little/no fossil fuel energy and whose ingredients are benign, but currently there is no clear choice that fulfills all of these needs. After evaluating their options, publishers base their decisions on the relative importance of their brand’s environmental integrity, the appearance of their magazine, and cost considerations. Increased public attention to environmental standards will hopefully galvanize publishers to reevaluate what finish best suits their content or at least experiment with various coatings to achieve a similar style. Some may even opt to use different coatings for newsstand versus subscription issues.

Until better coating options become available, the Better Paper Project encourages publishers to ask their printer about the environmental impact of their coatings, engage them in the selection process and employ creative problem solving to reduce coating use whenever possible. As in other aspects of publishing, it is important for publishers to work with their vendors to encourage continual environmental improvement during the printing process.

Note: This article deals exclusively with printer-applied coatings. Clay and latex coated papers are a related but separate topic.

Editors Note: This is the third installment in an 8 week "What's In Your Paper?" series on the Paper Planet focusing on specific sectors of the paper industry or paper from specific Endangered Forest regions. Subscribe or check back each Wednesday for a new posting in this series.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monadnock Introduces 100% Recycled Wine Label

Monadnock Paper Mills, Inc. announced this week the launch of Envi PC 100 Wine Label. This new 100% Post-Consumer Recycled label stock is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure materials have been responsibly sourced through a third-party verified chain of custody. It is also Processed Chlorine Free.

"Envi PC 100 Wine Label was specifically developed to meet the needs of the wine industry," said Monadnock Marketing Director, David Lunati. "In addition to a strong environmental profile, vintners want a label stock that performs--delivering high-resolution printing, stamping and embossing while maintaining its integrity throughout the rigors of the supply chain. It also must pass the ice bucket test. Wet strength is a critical characteristic."

What's in your wine label

PA going green on paper, step by step

Two pieces for note from Pennsylvania. First, Sandy Bauers of the Philadelphia Enquirer on the new tissue scoring by Greenpeace.

Second, a PA school is making gains on the issue of reducing paper consumption. Congratulations to the kids and to the teachers. Let's hope that the money savings from reduced paper usage allows the school to put that money to better use.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What's In Your Paper from TASMANIA?

by Paul Oosting of The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) for the Paper Planet

In late 2008 the world’s tallest flowering plant was found in Tasmania. Centurion, a Eucalyptus regnans, is just under 100 metres tall. The Eucalyptus regnans is also the second tallest tree species on the planet, second only to the massive coastal redwood from California, which can reach 115 metres.

Centurion began growing in Tasmania well before Europeans arrived. Yet perversely, the forest in which it grows is not classed as old-growth, because the area has previously been burnt by wildfire. Instead, it is called ‘regrowth’, even though it may never have been logged before.

This misleading classification of forests in Tasmania is used as a tactic by the logging industry to support the continued destruction of irreplaceable native forests.

This situation occurs right across Tasmania. High-conservation-value forests containing ancient trees and wildlife (such as the giant Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, which is endangered and found nowhere else on the planet) are being clearfelled, woodchipped, pulped and ultimately turned into paper.

The woodchips from these forests is purchased predominantly by the Japanese paper companies Nippon and Oji and is certified as sustainable by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

In a world that is becoming more aware of the dangers of climate change, it is now more urgent than ever to stop sourcing paper made from native forests like those in Tasmania. Australian National University research shows that the logging of each hectare of Eucalyptus regnans forest in Tasmania can release up to one thousand tonnes of greenhouse pollution.

The logging industry has been misleading the public by claiming that logging is good for climate change because young regrowth forests absorb more carbon than old-growth forests. What the logging industry conveniently forgets to mention is the massive carbon loss that occurs when the original forest is logged. This carbon has been absorbed over centuries, and can never be recovered in regrowing trees that are destined to be relogged within decades.

Tasmania’s forests, along with native forests around the world, are a critical asset in the fight to stop dangerous climate change. We need your support in stopping the driving force behind the destruction of these forests – paper consumption.

To find out more about the campaign to protect Tasmania’s irreplacable native forests from being clearfelled and turned into paper go to: http://www.wilderness.org.au/regions/tasmania

Editors Note: This is the second installment in an 8 week "What's In Your Paper?" series on the Paper Planet focusing on specific sectors of the paper industry or paper from specific Endangered Forest regions. Subscribe or check back each Wednesday for a new posting in this series.