Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Paper Planet Has Moved to a New Home

After a good, long run publishing on this platform, the Paper Planet, is moving to a new web address at the new website of the Environmental Paper Network.

You can read and follow the blog now at

This site at  will remain public as an archive of previous articles.  Please join us and register on the new website in order to join the conversation and comment on the articles covering pulp, people, ecology and the transformation of an industry.

You can also stay connected to articles on Facebook and Twitter (@whatsnyourpapr)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Association of Alternative Newsmedia Endorses Environmental Vision at Annual Meeting

Two organizations that are leaders in the Environmental Paper Network have been in New Orleans this week for the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (formerly the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies).  They have reported back, with some good news:  The Association, representing 129 alternative weekly news organizations, voted unanimously to endorse the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision at its annual July convention in New Orleans.

“The AAN is showing its leadership in the industry by endorsing the Environmental Vision,” said  Shannon Binns, Green Press Initiative. “It’s not just a step towards a more sustainable industry, but one that’s more viable too.”

The Environmental Vision is comprised of five goals aimed at supporting a healthy climate and protecting endangered and high conservation value forests, increasing recycled content and supporting best practices in forest management, maximizing production efficiency, and supporting best practices in both print and digital media operations.

“Endorsing the Vision sends a strong message to newsprint suppliers that publishers are interested in where their paper comes from, and what the impacts are on our world’s climate, forests and species,” said Tara Sawatsky, Canopy’s corporate campaigner.

“It makes sense to encourage the marketplace to provide environmentally sustainable products – and as such it was an obvious step for AAN to endorse the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision,” said Tiffany Shackelford, AAN’s Executive Director.

The creation of the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision was facilitated by Canopy and Green Press Initiative, and with input from leading newspaper printers, associations, newsprint producers, and publishers, including AAN member NOW Magazine.

Copies of the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision are available for download here:

5 Groups File Lawsuit Challenging EPA's Free Pass on Climate Pollution from Biomass Energy

Good decisions require good information.

Stakeholders in the paper industry's transformation towards greater environmental responsibility need good information about the climate pollution from harvesting, land-use change, and smokestack emissions of using and burning virgin tree fiber to make paper.

That's why paper industry transformation advocates are keenly interested in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory process on this matter, and the most recent news of a final decision to delay regulatory action on climate pollution from biomass energy and study the issue for three years, while in the meantime sanctioning the "carbon-neutral" myth of this type of energy, even directly from natural forests.

This week, 5 organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA's recent final decision and the Partnership for Policy Integrity has a good overview article about the issue and the lawsuit."
"Earlier this year, despite having initially included “biogenic” CO2 in the greenhouse gases to be newly regulated under the Clean Air Act, the EPA reversed its initial decision and announced it needed three years to decide  how biomass carbon emissions should be regulated. In response, The Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Georgia ForestWatch, Natural Resources Council of Maine and Wild Virginia filed a lawsuit August 15 against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn EPA’s three-year deferral."
Read more.... 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Environmental Paper Network Applauds Senate Resolution 251 For Improved Recycling

Senate Resolution 251 was introduced on August 2nd by co-chairs of the Recycling Caucus, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R–ME). The intent behind the non-binding resolution was to showcase the high level benefits that recycling provides the US economy, jobs, and the environment. At the same time, the bill calls for needed improvement to the current collection, processing, manufacturing and consuming of recyclables and recycled materials.  The resolution follows on the heels of a compelling Congressional briefing on the link between recycling and job created, and featured in the Paper Planet last week.

“In today’s political environment, this is a positive step forward to building the foundation of support for the US recycling industry,” stated Pam Blackledge of the Environmental Paper Network’s RePaper Project. “Senate Resolution 251 is something that everyone can and should be willing to get behind. We greatly appreciate that the bill showcases the extreme value that recycling offers our communities, our environment, and our economy while still pushing for further improvements. We’re grateful that Senators Carper and Snowe were able and willing to push this bill forward.”

The bill highlights the fact that recycling directly and indirectly employs more than 450 million Americans, while creating more than $90 billion in economic output - .6 percent of the US Gross Domestic Product. In terms of environmental savings, the bill highlights that energy use is dramatically lessened due to using recycled resources, highlighting that recycled newsprint takes 45% less energy than virgin newsprint. The bill has been referred to the Environmental and Public Works committee.

Along with Environmental Paper Network, numerous organizations have endorsed the resolution, including National Recycling Coalition, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Paper Recycling Coalition, Solid Waste Association of North America, Steel Recycling Institute, American Forest and Paper Association, Aluminum Association and Recycling Organizations of North America.
Media Contact: Pam Blackledge, 208-344-4043

Friday, August 05, 2011

Congressional Briefing Shows Connection Between Recycling and Jobs

Senator Carper of Delaware
Co-Chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus

On Thursday, July 28th, the RePaper Project attended a Congressional Briefing in Washington DC about the critical connection between recycling and building a green economy. The briefing was co-hosted by Senator Carper (D-DE) and Senator Snowe (R-ME), co-chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus. The intent was to increase education and awareness about the value of the US recycling industry. Ideally, the briefing also served to drive momentum and support for progressive recycling reform in the collection, processing, manufacturing, and consuming of recycled materials. Congressional staffers from both Senate and House offices were in attendance, along with private companies and non-profits.

The panel of speakers included Senator Carper along with representatives from Axion International (NJ), HiTech Assets (OK), the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (DC), Pratt Industries (GA), and the National Recycling Coalition-affiliated state recycling organization, the California Resource Recovery Association.

All of the speakers delivered strong and clear messages around the positive attributes of the recycling industry, including:

  • recycling creates well-paying jobs;
  • recycling reduces environmental burdens to air, water, land and communities;
  • recycling spurs innovation through creative end markets; and
  • the recycling industry adds billions of dollars to the economy.
However, on one key point there was a difference of view related to the export trade of recovered materials. The representative from Pratt Industries, a 100% recycled paper manufacturer, was the only one advocating to keep recovered paper at home for our domestic industries instead of shipping it abroad. His argument: that by having a greater supply of fiber for domestic use, it could reduce the cost of the resource and alleviate much of the pressure on our recycled paper mills. For the other industry representatives, however, this idea was something that they cautioned would be extremely damaging to their businesses, claiming that the export market is a major driver of their business model.

As a recycled paper advocate, Pratt’s message resonated greatly with me. How do we drive the market demand for recovering more fiber without then losing this necessary resource to countries that are willing to pay top dollar for the product, making it feasibly impossible for our domestic manufacturers to afford this raw material? This is a potentially life-threatening conundrum facing the domestic recycled manufacturing industry, with recovered paper being the number one US export, and unfortunately no easy or straightforward answers currently exist.

But that shouldn’t stop us from finding a working solution. We need everyone at the table talking about this challenge, finding pathways forward, and working together to create a model that can sustain a thriving, green, recycled paper industry here at home without adversely impacting trade markets. The RePaper Project of the Environmental Paper Network works to increase paper recovery and recycled paper manufacturing in North America and is facilitating dialogue on this question. If this discussion interests you and you’re willing to come to the virtual table, please chime in with your thoughts in the comments below or contact us.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Communities Tackling Unwanted Phone Books, Junk Mail

The Town of Brookline and the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts have joined a national waste reduction movement allowing residents to opt out of receiving unwanted mail and phone books via their municipal websites. Owing to a collaboration between the Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), which initiated the project, and Catalog Choice, which developed and operates the opt-out registry, Brookline and Cambridge residents can stop delivery of unwanted phone books, catalogs, coupons, and credit card solicitations.

Residents can reach the registry directly at: for Cambridge and for Brookline.

This two-community effort is part of a U.S. campaign aimed at slashing wasteful uses of paper, packaging, and other natural resources; reducing product impacts; saving taxpayer dollars; and honoring consumer choice. In October 2010, the City of Seattle passed the nation's first law requiring that telephone directory publishers provide residents with a phone books opt-out option. Last month the City of San Francisco passed an ordinance limiting phone book distribution to residents requesting delivery.

Each year, Americans receive more than 100 billion pieces of unsolicited mail while municipalities foot the bill for waste collection and recycling or disposal. More than 650,000 tons of phone books alone are delivered annually to households across the United States and a large percentage goes unused. While a third of all phone books are recycled, 410,000 tons still find their way to landfills or incinerators, costing local municipalities about $60 million in management costs.

"The unnecessary production, transport, and recycling or disposal of paper emits greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, which contributes to climate change," said Jesse Mermell, Brookline Selectman and Co-Chair of the Town's Climate Action Committee. "Reducing paper waste will not only lower greenhouse gas emissions but will also cut waste and pollution, in line with Brookline's commitment to reduce our community's carbon footprint."

"This new opt-out website is easy to use and a great service for our residents," said Lisa Peterson, Cambridge's Commissioner of Public Works. "With a few simple clicks on the site, each Cambridge resident has the opportunity to lower their impact on the environment."

"By taking tangible steps to reduce paper waste, save taxpayer money, and provide their residents with a meaningful choice, Brookline and Cambridge have become national leaders in the move toward zero waste," said Scott Cassel, PSI's Executive Director. "The Catalog Choice registry provides residents and municipal officials with the transparency needed to ensure that opt-out action is creating the desired environmental results."

"Brookline and Cambridge are taking a great step toward meeting their waste goals while setting a positive precedent for consumer choice and privacy," said Chuck Teller, Executive Director of Catalog Choice. "Our job is to make it easy for citizens to choose the mail and phone books they receive. This initiative is the most effective way for companies and communities to be more efficient, cut waste, and stop unwanted mail and phone books at the source."

To take further action on unwanted phone books, view this 30-second video: For more information on unwanted phone books, please visit: