Print and Paper Myths and Facts
I was recently given a small booklet by a supplier that attempts to “set out the facts in a clear and straightforward manner, addressing some of the inaccuracies and issues” on some of the myths regarding paper, it’s manufacture and it’s use. I thought I would share some of these now. I encourage you to find more at
Going Paperless Saves Forests
In North America, we grow many more trees than we harvest.
There are 20% more trees in the U.S. today than there were on the first Earth Day Celebration in 1970.
U.S. Paper recovery for recycling reached 65.8% for 2017. In Canada, 73% of the Paper is recovered. (At Athens Printing, we recycle almost all of the waste paper we produce)
Avoiding the use of wood is not the way to protect forests for the long term. It is precisely the areas of the world that consume the least wood that continue to experience the greatest forest loss. (By making wood valuable we are encouraging the growth of trees).
Paper is Bad for the environment.
Paper is one of the truly sustainable products.
Paper is made from wood, a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and can be managed sustainably.
Besides easily recognizable paper products (e.g. writing paper or paper towels), more than 5,000 products can be made from recycled paper.
About 39% of the fiber used in papermaking in the U.S. is obtained through recycling. The rest comes from wood that is typically obtained through: 1) thinning of forest stands being grown to larger diameters to provide raw material for production of lumber and plywood, 2) patch clearcutting of smaller diameter trees managed for pulp production, and/ or, 3) collection of chips and sawdust produced as by-products in the production of lumber
In Canada, 87% of the wood fiber used to make paper comes from a blend of sawmill residues (59%) and recycled paper (28%).
Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than paper
Electronic communication also has environmental impacts
In 2016, 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste were generated globally. The U.S. collects approximately 22% of its e-waste.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 2 billion smartphones, 1 billion computers, and 5 to 7 billion other connected devices. The manufacture of a computer requires 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals, 1.5 tonnes of water and numerous precious (gold and platinum) or rare earth minerals (tantalum, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium) as well as those which are dangerous for the environment (lead, bromine, arsenic, chlorine, mercury and cadmium).
If unchecked, ICT greenhouse gas emissions relative contribution could grow from roughly 1-1.6% in 2007 to exceed 14% of the 2016-level worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, accounting for more than half of the current relative contribution of the whole transportation sector.”4 In comparison, the combined pulp, paper & print sector is one of the lowest industrial emitters at 1% of the world’s GHG emissions.
A study by Two Sides found that half the leading Fortune 500 telecommunications companies, banks and utilities were making unsubstantiated claims about the environmental benefits of electronic billing. In response, Two Sides initiated a campaign to educate senior executives on the sustainability of print and paper and to encourage them to abandon misleading environmental claims. To date, 100 North American companies, and over 275 globally, have removed or changed inaccurate anti-paper claims.
In 2015, there were 2.6 billion email users worldwide and the number of emails sent and received per day totaled over 205 billion.6 Worldwide, total CO2 generated by emails is between 22 million and 4 billion metric tons of CO2 per year or the amount of CO2 produced annually by 4.68 million to 854 million cars.
There is much more at www.twosidesna.org.
I’ll be posting some more of these facts in the coming weeks.