Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are Paper Receipts Headed for Extinction?

Around the Environmental Paper Network, there's always lots of nerdy "paper talk." But for some reason, this week, there's been a noteworthy amount of chatter and buzz coming in about paper receipts.

What's up?

You may already know that thermal receipt paper can not be recycled. Strike one.

Now, there are new concerns. Organizations such as Practice Greenhealth, the folks at ScienceNews.com and bloggers such as the EcoMoms have become quite alarmed at the revelation that many paper receipts are coated with BPA (bisphenol A) and in a manner that allows it to end up all over your fingers after you've stuffed it in a pocket or into a trash bin. The EcoWomen break it down,

1. There are two types of paper used in cash register receipts: bond which is plain paper like what you write on and thermal-coated which is coated with a chemical that reveals marks when struck–this is the more popular type of receipt paper because it doesn’t require ink–the cash register merely bangs the information onto the receipt and the thermal coating reacts to the impact and heat, creating the images on the paper.

2. BPA was created to coat plastic in 1939. BPA is used to stabilize the chemicals on thermal-coated paper so the receipt paper doesn’t take on every mark from every single thing touching it, and it better preserves the marks on the paper.

Wikipedia can tell you about the health concerns and controversy surrounding Bisphenol A, HERE. Strike two.

And the question becomes, are paper receipts really the most convenient, efficient and secure way to serve customers. The folks writing over at SoftwareAdvice.com think that some of the electronic solutions are a better way to go for everyone. They are hosting a poll this month asking readers to, "please kill the paper receipt." You can vote here.

So, a more convenient alternative exists for most paper receipt uses? By my count that's strike three, and......

Let us know what you think. Please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chill Out! Campus Solutions to Global Warming Webcast

The RePaper Project, a project of the EPN, is proud to partner with the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program's Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming webcast. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! Celebrate by hosting a free webcast at your school or organization that offers inspiring stories of colleges and universities who are making a difference against climate change today!

Chill Out showcases colleges that are cutting their carbon footprint and working towards a sustainable future. The Chill Out webcast is the perfect organizing tool to host on its own or with other Earth Day activities. The free 30 minute webcast will be available beginning on April 21 and will be available through the summer. Bring this free webcast to your campus or organization! Tune in and Chill Out this Earth Day. For more information and to register go to:


Monday, April 19, 2010

New: The Paper Steps - On Campus

The RePaper Project, a project of the Environmental Paper Network, released a new resource today entitled Paper Steps on Campus: 9 Steps to Protecting the Climate and Reducing Waste through Campus Paper Policies.

The guide, compiled in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and Recycling Organizations of North America, is an essential resource for colleges and universities instituting sustainability initiatives on campus. Far beyond simple paper recycling advice, it is a comprehensive tool for campuses committed to pushing their climate and sustainability practices to the next level.

“Even if your campus has sustainability measures in place,” commented Pam Blackledge, RePaper Project Coordinator and one of the authors of the guide, “implementing one or more of the nine steps outlined in this guide will help you maximize your commitment to the environment. Updating paper policies using this guide offers a huge opportunity to cut costs, cut waste, and cut your campus carbon footprint.”

The collegiate community has been a leader in sustainability programs. When it comes to recovering paper for recycling, however, we need to improve. According to a National Wildlife Federation report, 40-50% of the solid waste stream from campuses is paper. Much of the paper being used on campus is typically white, office grade paper. Therefore, campuses are well poised to make a significant impact not only on how that paper is disposed, but how it is made, purchased and sourced.

According to Jack DeBell, one of the founders of Recycling Organizations of North America and director of CU Recycling in Boulder, “Campuses are positioned to make a dramatic impact on recycling. To receive maximum environmental benefit, high-grade paper from our campuses should follow a unique recycling path so that it can re-enter the market as high-quality recycled office paper.”

"Many colleges in the U.S. have sprawling campuses and transportation systems, which leads to large carbon footprints that endanger the health of our environment,” said Kristy Jones, Senior Manager of National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Climate Education and Action. “However, many schools are proving to their communities that sustainability is not merely possible--going green can save the campuses money. The Paper Steps on Campus guide will help campuses continue these successes by increasing efficiency of paper usage."

Paper Steps on Campus creates yet another opportunity for the collegiate community to be a leader in sustainability. Implementing environmental paper policies will not only improve a campus’s carbon footprint and reduce waste, but will also, through ethical procurement policies, support businesses developing innovative marketplace solutions necessary for the low-carbon economy 21st century.

To download Paper Steps on Campus, please follow this link:

To find out more information about the RePaper Project, visit www.repaperproject.org.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Indonesian Paper Giant APRIL’s Certification Status Suspended

SmartWood, an independent forest management certifier, has suspended the interim certification of Asia Paper Resources International Limited (APRIL) pulp products. The paper giant failed to meet the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)’s minimum standard for "controlled wood" certification. The disciplinary action came after APRIL was found to have violated FSC’s controlled wood standard, including prohibitions against conversion of rainforests to create paper plantations, destruction of High Conservation Value Forests, including peatlands, and conflicts with communities.

APRIL’s loss of its certified status means that both of Indonesia’s leading pulp and paper companies, which together account for more than 80 percent of Indonesia’s production, have failed to meet the third party certification body’s lowest bar for environmental and social risk. The FSC disassociated itself altogether from APRIL’s rival and Indonesia’s largest paper producer, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), in 2007.

“SmartWood is finally validating what communities have known all along,” said Syahrizal community leader of the village of Teluk Meranti and founding member of the Riau Province Community Council for Peatlands (Dewan Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Riau). “APRIL is failing to respect communities’ rights, appropriating our traditional lands and cutting down the forests we rely on for our food, shelter and livelihoods.”

APRIL’s interim FSC certification, awarded just one year ago, has been widely viewed as a test to see if the controversial industry giant could reach the minimum standard used in FSC certified products. Following today’s suspension, the company will have the opportunity to try to rectify its failures before its controlled wood certificate is entirely revoked. To even be considered eligible for re-certification, APRIL must demonstrate to Smart Wood auditors that they have stopped all conversion of natural forest within ten days.

“This means that until practices on the ground drastically improve, pulp and paper products from Indonesia must be off limits to anyone who cares about human rights, the climate or rainforests,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network, a member of the Environmental Paper Network. “...if you’re a paper purchaser, it’s just too controversial to buy from either APRIL or APP.”

According to conservation groups, paper companies have already severed ties based on their own due diligence – Finnish paper giant UPM Kymmene cancelled its contract with APRIL estimated at $US33 million in November 2009. With eroding market and investor confidence, APRIL may find itself in the position of rival APP that since 2008 lost an estimated US$300 million in annual sales with customers such as Office Depot, Unisource, Gucci Group, Ricoh and Corporate Express due to social and environmental concerns. Leading civil society organizations in Indonesia have called for buyers and investors in the Indonesia pulp and paper sector to require fundamental reforms before conducting further business with the sector.

More information at WALHI Riau www.walhi.or.id and Scale Up www.scale-up.or.id