Paper ≠ Bad
At Domtar, we believe that paper is a good thing. And we’re not the only ones.
All over the world, people use paper every day. From food packaging to recyclable newspapers and magazines, to office paper, printing paper and tissue paper, most people can’t get through the day without it. Paper makes our world better. And when we make the right paper choices, we get the chance to return the favor.
So, why is it that so many people seem to have turned on paper? Through misleading environmental claims like deforestation in North America, excessive energy consumption and crowded landfill sites, it’s been the source of bad publicity. However, with a little more information, it soon becomes clear that paper isn’t the cause of environmental destruction. In fact, it just may offer a solution. So we decided to clear up the confusion and turn a page in the way people see paper. Below are a few key reasons why paper is good — and why the right paper is even better.
For starters, making paper doesn’t destroy forests. In fact, the forest products industry plants more than 1.7 million trees per day. When you think about it, it just makes sense. After all, if we don’t ensure a steady supply of raw materials, how can we continue to provide the products that so many people rely on to communicate and share information each and every day? And it’s not just about sustaining paper. It’s also about sustaining forest life. Domtar paper is certified to the standards of internationally recognized organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®). Domtar is committed to responsible forest management, and has a preference for FSC certification where available. Most Domtar EarthChoice® papers carry FSC certification, which is recognized by the Rainforest Alliance as the world's most comprehensive certification for responsible forest management. Domtar is also pleased to make an annual contribution of $350,000 to WWF from the sale of EarthChoice® products to support their global conservation efforts. We’re proud to play a part in ensuring our forests — and the wildlife within them — are well taken care of, for years to come.
Paper is portable, secure, consistent and permanent. It’s 100% recyclable.
And the people who make it have made great strides in reducing overall energy consumption and protecting natural forests. Maybe that’s why there are nearly 750 million acres of forests in the U.S. — about the same as 100 years ago. Additionally, annual net growth of U.S. forests is 36 percent higher than the volume of annual tree removals, and total forest cover in the U.S. and Canada has basically remained the same from 1990 to 2005.1
By planting new seedlings, we help rid the atmosphere of carbon dioxide, and replace it with fresh oxygen. As young trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. And as a wood-based product, paper continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime. Planting new trees can also combat global warming. For every ton of wood a forest produces, it removes 1.47 tons of CO2 from the air and replaces it with 1.07 ton of oxygen.2
Like most industrial conversion processes, making paper does consume a lot of energy. However, Domtar and many other pulp and paper companies have made a serious commitment to reduced energy consumption and energy efficiency. In 2012, Domtar used an average of 76.3% renewable energy at its mill operations. Burning fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil and coal is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but the pulp and paper industry largely uses renewable energy sources that are considered carbon neutral to generate steam and electricity. By making paper using more renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, Domtar mills continue to reduce their carbon footprint.
Paper has often been accused of taking up excessive landfill space. However, thanks to the success of neighborhood curbside recycling programs, increased community awareness and individual activism, recycling rates are now at an all-time high. In 2012, over 65 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling.3 To put it in perspective, the recovery rate in 2010 for metal was 35 percent; glass was 27 percent; and plastic was only 8 percent.4
At Domtar, we create products made from sustainable resources — and we make responsible choices to ensure they continue to be renewed, every day.
1 FAO of The United Nations
2 Forest Products Association of Canada
3 American Forest & Paper Association www.afandpa.org
4 Environmental Protection Agency
* American Forest & Paper Association www.afandpa.org