5 myth busting facts about paper and print
Myth busting and 5 eco-facts about paper most people don't know
Paper has been a communication tool for more than 2000 years. Be it the ease of use, print possibilities, scent, texture or aesthetics, there is something about paper we love - even in an age of email, instant messages and websites.
Yet, there are many myths around paper and its use. While some people argue you can't do away with paper, some others say it has a huge impact on the environment.
One thing everyone agrees on is that paper and printing have become a part of our lives in many ways. So it's important to look at the what's myth and what's real.
Myth 1- Making paper destroys forests
Around the world, 90% of deforestation happens due to unsustainable agricultural practices, not paper production. And in countries like Australia, paper production supports sustainable forest management. Our paper industry is dependent on, and supportive of, sustainable forest growth for dependable supply of wood fibre.
The percentage of third-party verified, chain-of-custody certified paper used by Australian printers has exploded. And using papers of traceable origin has become an industry expectation.
Myth 2 - Paper and print is a wasteful product
Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world more so than any other household item.
More and more governments and companies are taking up recycling, reducing waste paper from landfills. Furthermore, 95% of Australian household recycle or reuse their paper products, 77% of catalogues are recycled, and 99% of them are recyclable.
Myth 3 - planted forests are bad for the environment
While planted forests might not be as rich in ecosystem as a natural forest, they are an eco-system in themselves and help a healthy environment thrive.
In Australia, the planted forests are managed with high world standards. They play a vital role in absorbing the greenhouse gases to boost environmental health.
Planted forests also:
- are more productive and grow faster than natural forests
- can be independently certified
- can provide new recreational facilities
- can prevent soil degradation and erosion
- provide new habitat shade, shelter and wildlife corridors
- contribute to rural development & employment.
Myth 4 - paper is bad for the environment
Paper is one of the truly renewable products, made from wood, which is a natural, renewable material too. And like wood, paper stores carbon during its lifetime, making it an effective carbon sink.
As wood is the most easily available biodegradable and renewable material on earth, sustainable paper production does not lead to deforestation, because the harvested trees are regrown.
Myth 5 - online communication is more e-friendly than print and paper.
This is not always the case. In fact, online has growing environmental impacts:
- Electronic waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal waste stream.
- The average Australian generates nearly 20kgs of e-waste every year.
- The amount of electronic products discarded globally has sky rocketed to over 50 million tonnes generated every year.
- Only 12% of e-waste is recycled.
The best option is to use lifecycle thinking to determine which combination of print and e-communication will have the least impact on the environment while best meeting social and economic needs.
Paper does use trees, consume energy and too often, waste paper ends up in landfill sites. But it's also one of the few truly renewable and recyclable raw materials we have.
Today, the paper industry is recognises its responsibilities and invests heavily in all areas of production and sourcing of raw materials to minimise its impact.