Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spitballs And Recycled Paper

The Paper Planet welcomes a guest column by Frank Locantore of the Green America Better Paper Project, part of a series highlighting the work of members of the Environmental Paper Network.

Spitballs And Recycled Paper
: Why every seventh grader knows recycled paper is better for the environment
If you weren’t the seventh grader who chewed up paper and got it all pulpy with your saliva before doing something nefarious with it, then you most certainly remember those kids. These same kids would never think of making a spitball by chewing on a tree log – it takes way too much energy and could require mixing some hazardous chemicals with their saliva. Like middle school spitballs, making recycled paper uses less energy and water (saliva) and requires fewer tree parts and is better for the environment than making paper exclusively from trees.

Credible science backs up the spit-balling, environmentally intuitive seventh grader. The seminal Paper Task Force Report (PTFR) was written by the Environmental Defense Fund, Time Inc., Duke University, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Life, and McDonald’s. Hardly the product of radical organizations, a glimpse of what the PTFR found is that: read on...


Anonymous said...

The EDF task force paper quoted was published in 1995 i know because my company cooperated in providing data. In 2011 it is too old to be relevant except for providing a baseline for a new study. (WHEN?)Why the least efficient paper machines and mills have be permanently shut down. Over 4 million tons of coated paper capacity is gone, overall in the industry some 20+ million tons of capacity. If recycled paper was as is touted by some of my colleagues why has 500,000 tons of recycled newsprint been closed in the last 18 months it was not sustainable. Paper companies have reduced their dependence on fossil fuels and reducing the energy need per ton of paper. The technoogical changes in pulp and paper making have gone on for the last 16 years.

THe EDF report was a monumental undertaking then but it does not represent the state of the industry today.

Frank Locantore said...

The EDF Paper Task Force report is old, yes. But you continue to make the argument that I discuss in the blog, that lowering fossil fuel dependence is not the same as reducing climate change impacts The fuel that the virgin paper mills use continue to release GHGs into the atmosphere. Do we agree on this point?

Paper mill closings are happening at a pretty fast pace, but it is a mistake to use mill closures as evidence that recycled paper is not a better environmental choice.

For a better sense of the state of the paper industry, you should read the EPN's "State Of The Paper Industry: 2011" report that just came out. Just go to to download the document.

And lastly, I want us to have a dialogue and I hope that others that decide to comment are not fearful of using their name and/or association. Let's get out of our silos and solve these economic, environmental, and climate problems we face.

Frank Locantore
Green America Better Paper Project Director