The Environmental Paper Network released a report October 2, detailing the environmental impacts of the paper industry.

The State of the Paper Industry is the first comprehensive report addressing the sourcing, recycling, consumption, paper production, and the paper industry’s impact on communities and the climate crisis.

“This report is a comprehensive environmental review of an industry that continues to be one of our planet’s most significant environmental challenges,” said Joshua Martin, Environmental Paper Network Coordinator. “The good news is that a shift within the paper industry has begun, and corporate leaders are emerging across every sector to embrace new tools for responsible production and major climate, health and forest benefits. This report offers a broadly supported vision and a challenge to the industry while documenting a baseline of environmental data for monitoring real progress and indentifying real leaders in years to come.”

Some of the negative key findings noted the paper industry is the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among US manufacturing industries, 25% of landfill waste is paper, which is the largest of any single component, paper production accounts for over 40% of the world’s industrial wood harvest, and paper production is one of the world’s largest consumers and polluters of fresh water.

The report noted that positive environmental opportunities included a growing market demand for environmentally responsible paper products, cleaner production and alternatives to chlorine bleaching, increasing recovery of waste paper and the emergence of innovative corporate leaders.

“From continual logging of the world’s endangered forests to a de-emphasis of recycled paper, many companies within the paper industry continue to hind behind business as usual practices or pawn off new practices as green,” said Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Markets Initiative. “We challenge these companies to embrace a truly sustainable paper industry that protects forests and ensures clean water, clean air and a stable climate for future generations.”

The report also calls on all companies to minimize paper consumption, maximize recycled content, employ cleaner production methods to reduce impact on the climate crisis, and source fiber responsibility.




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