True or myth: Is Paper One of the Few Truly Sustainable Products?
We’ve all seen the “please think twice before printing” messages on the bottom of emails.
Just one aspect of the phenomenon of greenwashing, where companies try to bolster their environmental credentials based on misleading claims.
Campaign group Two Sides is leading the fightback against these misleading claims, making the case that paper is one of the few truly sustainable products.
To make the case, Two Sides has launched a new e-book called “Print and Paper: Myths and acts”. In it, the group argues, when produced and used responsibly, paper is one of the greenest ways to communicate.
It cites Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, who remarked in 2016: “There aren’t many industries around that can aspire to become genuinely sustainable. The paper industry, however, is one of them; it is inherently sustainable.”
Nevertheless, there are many myths around the production and environmental impact of paper, which the group aims to dispel in the e-book.
Paper’s Green Credentials
The first myth it tackles is the notion that European Forests are shrinking. Instead, it says “European forests have been growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day”. It also responds to criticism that this forest growth is planted forest, arguing that planted forest is a vital part of the environmental mix.
While it is important that planted forest does not replace natural forest, planted forest does have a role to play. Two Sides says: “Planted forests can be environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material.”
An Efficient Industry
It also highlights how efficient the paper production process is, quoting an Ecofys report from 2013 which stated that “the paper, pulp, and print sector is one of the lowest industrial emitters of greenhouse gasses, accounting for 1% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions”.
It also points to the high rates of recycling for paper products – the kind of renewable cycle of which most industries can only dream.
The e-book cites a European Declaration on Paper Recycling, from the 2014 Monitoring Report which stated: “The European recycling rate for paper reached 72% in 2014 – that amounts to 2 tonnes of paper being recycled every second!”
However, despite making the case for paper being one of the world’s few truly sustainable products, Two Sides is not complacent. It says: “We recognise that the industry has a responsibility to continually improve its environmental credentials as well as address customer concerns, which are often the result of misleading or inaccurate information.”
Read the e-book in full at www.twosides.info