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Environment Myth  


Paper boasts exceptional environmental credentials: it’s natural, biodegradable, recyclable, comes from an infinitely renewable source and is produced in a sustainable manner. Trees capture and store billions of tonnes of carbon, day after day, and paper, as a wood product, continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime.

A well managed forest, where trees are felled and re-planted, absorbs more carbon dioxide (CO2) than a mature forest. In fact, forests represent the only proven “carbon capture and storage” system available at present. Carbon storage is further prolonged by recycling paper.

The Paper Industry has reduced its environmental impact greatly over the past 20 years.  Between 1990 and 2010 the UK Papermaking Industry reduced total energy use by 34% per tonne of paper made.  Thanks to investment in lower carbon energy, annual emissions of fossil carbon have been reduced by 1.6m tonnes or 42%.

The ongoing climate change discussion frequently refers to the “carbon footprint” of products as a means of expressing the emission of climate-relevant gases by a process or through the manufacture of a product. The manufacture of a sheet of paper has a carbon footprint, as does using the internet, or making a journey by car or plane.

If it were not for the Pulp and Paper Industry operating world-wide for the last 150 years, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere would be 5% higher (about half a degree in Celsius) than they are at present4.

4 Shredding the myths, Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa, March 2012


......© Confederation of Paper Industries, 1 Rivenhall Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 7BD