FSEA Releases Study on the Recycling of Fiber-Based Materials with Transfer Metallic Decoration

The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) has announced the release of a new report detailing the results from a newly completed study on the recycling of fiber-based materials with transfer metallic decoration. The new study now available through FSEA has taken a further step to test transfer metallic decorated fiber-based materials and how the materials are sorted by Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) throughout the U.S. and North America. Through extensive testing at the Van Dyk Technology Center, the study demonstrates that fiber-based transfer metallic decorated materials are recyclable and are currently being sorted by Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) to be included in the recycling stream.

Read more and request a copy of the new study at FSEA.com

 

Two Sides Global Campaign Reports Increasing Greenwashing as Organizations Focus on Sustainability

Two Sides has challenged over 2,650 organizations found to be communicating greenwashing messages to their customers. Over 1,180 organizations have, so far, removed misleading anti-paper statements.

PORTLAND, Ore. – April 25, 2024 – Economic pressures remain the driver for greenwashing, and many organizations that have relied on paper to communicate with their customers are increasingly transitioning consumers from traditional paper-based services to digital platforms to reduce costs. The switch to digital is often justified by misleading and unsubstantiated environmental marketing messages such as; “Go Green – Go Paperless” or “Choose e-billing and help save a tree,” but this is Greenwashing.

A Two Sides Greenwashing Study in 2022 revealed that 65% of US consumers who have seen greenwashing claims are influenced to switch from paper to electronic communications. Furthermore, data from the 2023 Two Sides Trend Tracker Survey showed that 81% of consumers believe they should have the right to choose how they receive bills and statements.

With increasing focus on corporate sustainability, other sectors – such as tissue and paper-based packaging – now experience greenwashing with the misleading and unsubstantiated marketing of products claiming to be more sustainable for many reasons, including new and alternative sources of fiber.

Two Sides North America Executive Director, Jules Van Sant says, “These greenwashing claims violate established environmental marketing regulations and are hugely damaging for an industry known for its strong and consistently progressive environmental record. A healthy market for forest products such as paper encourages the long-term growth of forests through sustainable forest management. Many of the organizations we challenge are surprised to learn that US forests have actually been growing by the equivalent of 1,200 football fields every day.”

Globally, Two Sides has engaged over 2,650 Organizations making misleading statements about paper. In North America, nearly 200 companies, including many Fortune 500 companies, have removed unsubstantiated claims about paper.

Two Sides estimates that, due to the vast reach of some of these organizations, unsubstantiated claims have a long-lasting damaging effect on consumer perceptions of paper and threaten a US industry that employs over 925,000 people and supports more than 2 million additional jobs throughout the supply chain.

The Anti-greenwash campaign continues to be a priority for Two Sides and urges companies not to use unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about going paperless in all of their communications.

“We are grateful for the openness, communication and cooperation when we present the facts around the use of paper, print, mail and paper-based packaging. But we have more work to do! As a result of our outreach, hundreds of organizations have changed or eliminated these misleading greenwashing claims from their messaging. Our industry stakeholders, Two Sides members, supporters and informed consumers help keep our work at the forefront. We are thankful for those who send us examples of greenwashing – keep them coming,” Van Sant concludes.

Please send any instances of greenwash to our Anti-Greenwashing Claim Submission Form.

For more information about our anti-greenwashing campaign, visit Anti-Greenwashing Campaign – Two Sides North America (twosidesna.org).

About Two Sides

Two Sides is a not-for-profit, global initiative promoting the unique, sustainable, and attractive attributes of print, paper, and paper packaging. Its members span the entire value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, packaging, inks and chemicals, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes, and postal operators.

For more information about the anti-greenwash campaign or to learn more about Two Sides, please contact us at info@twosidesna.org.

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Two Sides North America Announces Retirement of President Kathi Rowzie

Kathi Rowzie

PORTLAND, Ore. – January 9, 2024 – Two Sides North America (TSNA) today announced that Kathi Rowzie will retire as its president effective February 1. Over the past four years, Rowzie has led the non-profit membership organization chartered to eliminate unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about print, paper and paper-based packaging and to promote the paper industry’s continuously improving sustainability performance. 

Under Rowzie’s leadership, TSNA has persuaded dozens of major corporations, government agencies and other organizations to remove unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper from their customer communications, resulting in the elimination of billions of instances of anti-paper greenwashing. Since 2020, TSNA has also increased its LinkedIn followers by 125%; initiated and conducted two Trend Tracker research studies which showed incremental improvement in consumer attitudes toward paper products and the environment; significantly increased engagement with the media on paper-related sustainability issues; introduced the “3 Minutes with Two Sides” podcast; redesigned TSNA educational materials to make them more user friendly; and more. 

“On behalf of TSNA’s members and supporters, we thank Kathi for her leadership and unyielding determination in busting common environmental myths about print and paper products and promoting the paper industry’s ever-improving environmental record,” said TSNA Executive Director Jules Van Sant. “Her efforts to eliminate anti-paper greenwashing claims and to educate businesses and consumers about the environmental benefits of paper products have laid the groundwork to continue our efforts through advocacy and education.”

“It has been my great privilege to serve as Two Sides North America president,” Rowzie said. “I am especially grateful to our members whose support has made it possible for Two Sides to consistently deliver on our commitments to eliminate unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about print, paper and paper-based packaging and to tell the great sustainability story of the paper industry and its products. I look forward to seeing Executive Director Jules Van Sant and Director of Operations Jill Crossley take Two Sides North America to new levels of success in 2024 and beyond.”

Rowzie will continue to work with paper industry clients and their customers, providing sustainability strategy and communications services through her consulting practice, Rowzie Group Ltd.

 


Media Contacts:

Jules Van Sant, Executive Director
Jill Crossley, Director of Operations
Two Sides North America
P:  971-288-6734
E:  info@twosidesna.org

About Two Sides North America

Two Sides North America (www.twosidesna.org) is part of the non-profit Two Sides global network, which includes more than 600 member companies across North America, South America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Our mission is to dispel common environmental misconceptions and to inspire and inform businesses and consumers with engaging, factual information about the inherent environmental sustainability and enduring value of print, paper and paper-based packaging.

What Would Ben Franklin Do?

Making the Environmental Case for Paper

 

By Kathi Rowzie, President, Two Sides North America

This article was originally published in the March/April 2022 edition of Mailing Systems Technology Magazine.

Mail center professionals, who already operate in a challenging business environment, are increasingly faced with the task of responding to the popular, but scientifically flawed narrative that the paper critical to their operations is somehow environmentally unsustainable. If this describes you, then Ben Franklin, father of the Postal Service and first U.S. postmaster general, offers some sage advice: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

In our increasingly digital world, knowledge – knowing the facts about the unique sustainability of paper – is a potent antidote to the common environmental myths used to justify replacing paper mail with electronic communications: that paper production and use destroys forests, is a major contributor to climate change, consumes enormous amounts of water and generates excessive amounts of waste.

Whether you are the leader of an in-plant mailing operation or the CEO of a company delivering mailing solutions to customers around the globe, these “go paperless” conversations will eventually land on your doorstep, if they haven’t already. To demonstrate to your management, investors, customers and other stakeholders that print on paper is a truly sustainable choice, both today and in the future, you need to be armed with the facts.

Fortunately, there is an arsenal of data to help you make the case for the sustainability paper.

Myth: Using paper causes deforestation and destroys forests

In the United States, trees to make paper are grown, harvested and regrown using sustainable forest management practices that perpetuate infinitely renewable forestlands. While the paper industry was producing products that enrich the lives of consumers, net forestland area in the United States actually increased 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the latest Global Forest Resources Assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day!

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) reports that less than 2% of U.S. forestland is harvested each year, compared with 3% that is disturbed annually by natural causes like fire, insects and disease, and most of this 2% of harvested wood is used for non-paper purposes.

Contrary to the myth that paper destroys forests, the production of paper products is a powerful economic engine and driving force in keeping U.S. lands forested. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fiber, the paper industry encourages landowners to manage their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses. More than half (58%) of the forestland in the U.S. is privately owned and managed, mostly by millions of small landowners, and they are under no obligation to keep their lands forested. Without the economic incentive provided by the paper industry, untold millions of acres of forestland would likely have been lost permanently to commercial land development – converted to building projects, strip malls or parking lots.

So, is deforestation in the U.S. a real concern? Yes, but using paper is not the cause. The FAO defines deforestation as the permanent loss of forestland. In fact, the definition specifically excludes logging for the production of paper and other products because trees in these “working forests” are expected to grow back, either through natural regeneration or sustainable forestry practices. In the United States, the primary cause of forest loss is rapidly expanding urban development, this according to the USFS.

Myth: Paper is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change

According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the pulp and paper industry is responsible for only 0.5% of total annual U.S. GHG emissions. These very low emissions are due to decades of energy efficiency and process improvements at U.S paper mills, and to the fact that the U.S. paper industry generates two-thirds of the energy to manufacture its products using renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, primarily biomass.

According to the EPA, the paper industry produces more carbon-neutral bioenergy than any other industrial sector, using mostly wood-based leftovers from the papermaking process. This bioenergy use prevents around 181 million metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year – roughly equivalent to removing 35 million cars from the road.

Myth: Paper manufacturing consumes enormous amounts of water

While it’s true that the paper industry uses large amounts of water to manufacture its products, most of that water is not consumed in the manufacturing process, this according to the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). NCASI reports that water used in the papermaking process is recycled up to 10 times in a typical paper mill, and then nearly 90% of that water is cleaned to meet federal and state clean water standards before it is returned to its source. Most of the remaining water evaporates back into the environment, with around 1% retained in the manufactured paper.

Myth:  Paper generates excessive amounts of waste

When it comes to circularity, the idea that products should be reused or recycled, paper has all other materials beat hands down. Thanks to the paper industry’s voluntary, multi-billion dollar investments in commercial paper recovery infrastructure and to the commitment of millions of organizations and individual Americans who choose to recycle every day, U.S. paper recycling has nearly doubled over the past 20 years. At 68%, the EPA reports that the U.S. paper recovery rate is higher than any other material in the country, including plastics (9%), glass (25%) and metals (34%). The recovery rate of corrugated cardboard is 89%.

Myth:  Electronic communication is better for the environment than paper

The miniaturization of digital devices and the “invisibility” of the infrastructures needed to support them leads many to underestimate the environmental footprint of digital technology. This phenomenon is reinforced by the widespread availability of services on the “cloud,” which makes the physical reality of use and the direct environmental impacts of digital technology all the more imperceptible.

Any organization considering a paperless strategy for sustainability reasons must recognize that digital technology places enormous and growing burdens on the environment. Here too, the proof is in the data.

First, consider the environmentally intensive drilling and mining required to extract source materials from the earth. Computers, tablets and other electronic devices are made with non-renewable resources – fossil fuels, chemicals, precious metals, rare earth minerals and toxic minerals like lead, mercury and arsenic that are dangerous when released into the environment. Cisco, the worldwide leader in internet technology, projects that North America will have 5 billion networked devices in 2023, up from 3 billion in 2018 – a 40% increase. Cisco also projects that the average per capita number of devices and connections in the U.S. will reach 13.6 in 2023, far higher than the estimated 2023 global average of 3.6 devices per person.

Electronic devices and the massive server farms that support them are powered using mostly fossil fuels (only 17% of U.S. energy is generated from renewable sources). The Shift Project, a think tank focused on the shift to a post-carbon economy, reports that energy consumption for digital devices is increasing 9% each year, and the share of digital technologies in global greenhouse gas emissions increased by half between 2013 and 2019, from 2.5% to 3.7%.  A 2015 study (Andrae and Elder) estimates that the information technology sector could use as much as 51% of global electricity and contribute 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

And according to the most recent Global E-Waste Monitor report, electronic devices create nearly 7 million metric tons of e-waste annually in the U.S., and only 15% of that e-waste is recycled. Most of the remaining e-waste is either burned, landfilled or dumped.

Paper: A responsible environmental choice

 Digital technology has become an essential part of our everyday lives and is likely making beneficial contributions to your mailing operations, but it also has wide-ranging environmental impacts that continue to grow. While all manufacturing processes have an environmental footprint, the fact that paper is made with an infinitely renewable resource, is manufactured using mostly renewable, carbon-neutral energy, consumes very little water, is recyclable and is recycled more than any other material, makes a strong case for its continued use.

Two Sides North America (twosidesna.org)  is a non-profit organization whose members span the entire print, paper, paper-based packaging and mail value chain. Funded entirely by membership dues, Two Sides is the only industry organization that directly challenges unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper made by corporations, the media, government agencies and others. Two Sides also supports its members with factual, science-based resources to supplement their own sustainability efforts. Learn how to join at twosidesna.org/become-a-member/.

Reaching Consumers in an Environmentally Responsible Way: The Return of Printed Catalogs   

By Kathi Rowzie, President, Two Sides North America

After a sharp decline in 2020, printed catalogs are coming back in a big way. Market research firm Keypoint Intelligence reports that digital print volumes – the production method for most smaller-run catalogs – has rebounded close to its pre-pandemic level, and demand is expected to soar past pre-pandemic production next year and continue rising at a compound annual rate of 8% through 2025.

Why? As the rising cost of digital advertising increases the cost of acquiring and keeping customers, brands are looking for omnichannel strategies that enhance customer experiences, build loyalty and increase sales. Printed catalogs allow brands to connect with consumers in ways that digital platforms cannot.

The touch, feel and even the smell of catalogs provide a more intimate shopping encounter, and that interaction can be highly personalized thanks to today’s digital printing technology. Catalogs have staying power far beyond a quick scan on a handheld device. And their enticing visual appeal offers a shopping-as-entertainment experience that drives consumers online to learn more, seek additional products and make both online and in-store purchases. At the same time, the ability to target digital advertising has become less precise with the advent of new online privacy policies that allow consumers to opt out of being tracked.

The catalog comeback can also be attributed to brands’ efforts to tap into growing consumer awareness of sustainability and the desire to create a more environmentally friendly, circular economy. These savvy brands are looking beyond simplistic environmental paper calculators and pop culture myths about the environmental sustainability of paper — that it causes deforestation, is a major contributor to climate change, consumes huge amounts of water and generates excessive waste – and instead, are depending on hard, science-based facts to drive their marketing decisions.

For example, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines deforestation as the permanent loss of forestland. In the United States, trees to make paper are grown, harvested and regrown using sustainable forest management practices that perpetuate infinitely renewable forestlands. In fact, in its recent Global Forest Resources Assessment, the UN FAO reported that net forestland area in the United States actually increased 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020. That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Continuing demand for sustainably sourced paper encourages landowners to keep their land forested and manage it responsibly rather than selling it for development, the leading cause of deforestation in the United States. The U.S. Forest Service reports that less than 2% of U.S. forestland is harvested each year, compared with 3% that is disturbed annually by natural causes like fire, insects and disease, and most of this 2% of harvested wood is used for non-paper purposes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the paper industry contributes only 0.5% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. These very low emissions are due to decades of energy efficiency and process improvements at U.S paper mills, and to the fact that the U.S. paper industry generates two-thirds of the energy to manufacture its products using renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, primarily biomass.

While the paper industry uses large amounts of water to produce catalog papers, most of that water is not consumed in the manufacturing process, this according to the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). NCASI reports that water used in the papermaking process is recycled up to 10 times in a typical paper mill, and then nearly 90% of that water is cleaned to meet federal and state clean water standards before it is returned to its source. The remaining water is retained in the manufactured paper or evaporates back into the environment.

And when it comes to circularity, paper has all other materials beat hands down. According to the U.S. EPA, around two-thirds of all paper products are recycled, more than any other material.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace where environmental responsibility is a necessary part of any marketing strategy,  brands that choose printed paper catalogs to effectively reach their customers can be confident that they are making a sound environmental choice.

 

 

What Consumers Don’t Know About the Sustainability of Paper Products

New Two Sides Survey Shows U.S. Consumers Underestimate Print and Paper Products’ Unique Contributions to a Circular Economy 

Download the press release here.

CHICAGO – April 22, 2021 – As U.S. consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the products they use every day, there remains a wide gap between perception and reality when it comes to the sustainability of paper products. This according to a new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by global research firm Toluna.  The survey, “Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World,” sought to explore and better understand consumer perceptions, behaviors and preferences related to the sustainability of paper products.

“More and more consumers are factoring environmental impacts into their purchasing decisions, but all too often those decisions are based on pop culture myths and sensational, headline-driven journalism rather than fact,” says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “As attention turns to developing a more sustainable, circular economy, the paper and paper-based packaging industry has a great, fact-based environmental story to tell: Paper is one the few products that can already claim to have a truly circular life cycle.”

What’s happening to the size of U.S. forest area?

Paper use is often blamed for forest loss, and 60% of those surveyed believe U.S. forests are shrinking. The fact: U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment. That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Contrary to the popular belief that manufacturing and using paper destroys forests, the demand for sustainably sourced paper and paper-based packaging creates a powerful financial incentive for landowners not only to manage and harvest their land responsibly, but also to keep it forested rather than converting it to non-forest uses, one of the real documented causes of forest loss.

What percentage of paper is recycled?

Paper recycling in the United States is a hands down environmental success story. But according to the survey, only 11% of consumers believe the U.S. recycling rate exceeds 60% and nearly a quarter believe it’s less that 20%.  The fact: More than two-thirds of all paper and paper-based packaging in the U.S. is recycled, and more than 90% of corrugated cardboard boxes is recycled according to the American Forest and Paper Association. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that paper is the most recycled material in the country, compared to plastics at 8.4%, glass at 26.6% and metals at 33.3%.

Is electronic communication more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication?

As the pandemic forced meetings, events and day-to-day business to online communication and consumers increasingly relied on the internet for news and information, 67% of those surveyed believe that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication. While consumers enjoy the convenience and the ability to work from home that electronic communication affords, they overlook the environmental impact of digital communication.

The facts: The EPA reports that the pulp and paper industry accounts for only 1.2% of U.S. industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and only 0.5% of total U.S. GHG emissions – which shouldn’t be surprising since two-thirds of the energy used to power U.S. paper industry operations is generated using renewable, carbon neutral biomass. In contrast, the energy consumption required for digital technologies is increasing 9% each year, and the share of digital technology in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could rise to 8% by 2025 according to The Shift Project, a carbon transition think tank.  And compared to paper’s recycling success story, the United States generates approximately 7 million metric tons of e-waste annually, but only 15% of that waste is recycled, according to the 2020 Global E-waste Monitor.

“The life cycle of paper products is circular by nature,” Rowzie explains. “The raw material used to make it is perpetually regrown, the energy used to manufacture it is generated using mostly carbon-neutral biofuel, and the circle is completed as used paper is recycled into new products at a higher rate than any other material.  Even so, our survey shows that misconceptions about the sustainability of paper products are commonplace. It’s just these types of misconceptions that Two Sides was created to correct.  We believe consumers have the right to make purchasing choices based on data and hard facts, free from pop mythology and misinformation.”

For more facts about the environmental sustainability of paper and paper-based packaging, visit www.twosidesna.org.

About Two Sides North America, Inc.

Two Side North America is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging, and dispels common environmental misconceptions about paper products.  We are part of the Two Sides global network which operates across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Media Contact:

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America, Inc.

P:  937-999-7729

E:  info@twosidesna.org

 

Two Sides Responds to Misleading Claims about the Sustainability of Paper Products in Popular Science

An article titled “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” recently appeared in Popular Science.  Two Sides responded to the publication to set the record straight.

 

April 14, 2021

TO: Popular Science

RE: Article titled “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” published April 6, 2021

To the editors:

Myths about the sustainability of the North American paper industry and its products are common media fodder in today’s world of sensationalized, headline-driven journalism. This time it was the turn of Popular Science to weave together a collection of standard anti-paper tropes into your “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” article.

Shouldn’t a publication dedicated to reporting on science resist the easy narrative, hold up a submission to the illuminating glow of real authoritative data and pick up the phone to ask industry scientists or a school of forestry if any of what the authors claim makes sense?

After all, paper is not only the most recycled material in North America. It is a material whose industry grows and regrows its own feedstock (wood fiber), derives most of the power to drive its processes from carbon neutral biofuel, and recycles more than 95% of the chemicals it uses to turn trees into pulp. This is not “wildly unsustainable.” This is a description of some of the world’s most sustainable products.

You always know what’s coming when an article begins with the classic, bait-and-switch doomed forests appeal. The hook is baited by painting a mental picture for the reader of the destruction of faraway endangered forests like those in Borneo and the Amazon, and the switch is the implication that these forests are the source of trees for North America’s paper and paper-based packaging products.

Paper products manufactured in the United States and Canada come from sustainably managed forests in North America, and these forests are not “disappearing.” Net forest area in the United States increased by approximately 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, while Canada’s net forest area was stable between 1990 and 2020 at approximately 857 million acres.1

Each year, forests in North America grow significantly more wood than is harvested. In the United States, the net average annual increase in growing stock on timberland is about 25 billion cubic feet. Tree cutting and removal in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland per year in contrast to the nearly 3% disturbed annually by natural events like insects, disease, and fire.2 Harvesting occurs on 0.2% of Canada’s forestlands, while 4.7% is disturbed by insects and 0.5% is disturbed by fire.3

Contrary to the authors’ claim that manufacturing and using paper destroys forests, the demand for sustainably sourced paper and paper-based packaging creates a powerful financial incentive for landowners not only to manage and harvest their land responsibly, but also to keep it forested rather than converting it to non-forest uses, one of the real documented causes of forest loss.

The authors’ proposed solution to this non-problem of paper-caused forest loss is not the sure thing they claim it is: alternative fibers. Alternative fibers can be sustainably used in certain grades of paper and under certain circumstances, particularly in regions of the world like India and China where wood fiber is scarce. But their claim that “alternative materials have a fraction of the environmental impact” that tree fiber does is a gross exaggeration.  While a comprehensive life cycle assessment is required to determine the full environmental impacts of alternative fiber papers, some broad conclusions can be drawn.

To begin with, alternative fibers are often grown like agricultural crops, which means there will be no trees on the landscapes where they are planted, in perpetuity. Forestlands that are harvested for tree fiber are replanted or allowed to grow back naturally. Also like agricultural crops, alternative fiber crops typically require more water and pesticides and generate more wastewater runoff than forests. And since, unlike trees, there is little residual biomass in alternative fibers, the process of converting them to paper must rely more on fossil fuels.

Moreover, global statistics on forests do not suggest that the use of alternative fiber paper products would protect forests for the long-term. The regions of the world that consume the least amount of wood are those that have the highest rates of deforestation.1

The authors are correct that paper products as a whole are recycled at over 60% in the United States. In fact, the figure is closer to 66%, and 70% in Canada, but even these statistics are only half the story. Some paper products, like corrugated boxes are recycled at rates of over 90%, demonstrating the potential for overall recycling rates to go even higher.4,5

The North American paper industry has invested tens of millions of dollars in capital-intensive recycling technology, as well as the collection and transportation systems to support it. As of the most recent survey, over 80% of all paper mills in the United States use recovered fiber as at least part of their fiber source. The investments are paying off as newer equipment and processes are allowing the paper mills to repulp post-consumer paper that was once unusable, including more of the paper cups and soiled pizza boxes mentioned by the authors.

Neither should your readers be concerned about “chlorine-based bleaches used to make paper whiter.” As the authors correctly noted, there are “restrictions on the kinds of bleach that paper companies can use,” but the story doesn’t end there. Over the last three decades, massive voluntary industry investment and stricter environmental regulations have combined to drive major advances in bleaching technology. Since the authors specifically refer to  “modern” paper making, let’s be clear: today’s state-of-the art mill processes have dramatically reduced the chances that the substances referred to by the authors can be released into the environment.

Yes, by all means, we should retrain our brains. But let’s start by resisting the urge to cut and paste the same tired myths into sensational retread articles. Let’s start with a fresh look at the truly “modern” production and use of paper and build the training on a foundation of real-world data and science.

Sincerely,

Kathi Rowzie

President

Two Sides North America

 

1UN Food and Agriculture Organizations, 2020

2 USDA Forest Services, 2019

3 Natural Resources Canada, 2020

4 American Forest and Paper Association, 2020

5 Forest Products Association of Canada, 2020

 

Letters to Santa … A Sustainable Holiday Tradition

Who depends on print and paper more than anyone else this time of year? Why, Santa of course! A handwritten letter is still the method of choice for sending Christmas wish lists to the man in red. According to the U.S. Postal Service, hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus arrive at post offices across the country each December. Santa’s helpers, through programs like the USPS’s 100-year-old Operation Santa® program, respond to many of these letters, making holiday wishes come true for needy children.

In addition, the USPS provides a fun way for Santa to reply to children’s letters — complete with the North Pole postmark! The Greetings from the North Pole Post Office program adds to the excitement of Christmas and is ideal for getting kids interested in letter writing, stamps and penmanship. To participate, letters to Santa must be in the mail by December 7.

The time-honored tradition of putting ink on paper, sealing the envelope and dropping a letter to Santa in the mail is one of those very personal, tactile experiences that’s impossible to capture with an email. It’s also a very sustainable way to communicate with the North Pole’s most celebrated resident. In fact, we have it on good authority that Santa, a fellow known for keeping lists, uses the following “Top 10” to remind people that print on paper is a sound environmental choice.

Santa’s Top 10 Facts on Print and Paper Sustainability

  1. Paper is made with wood fiber from trees grown in sustainably managed forests. Wood, when sourced from well managed forests or plantations, is a renewable material with many advantages over non-renewable alternatives. (World Wildlife Fund)
  2. More trees are grown in the U.S. and Canada – through planting and natural regeneration – than are harvested each year. (U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada)
  3. Between 1990 and 2020, U.S. net forest area increased by 18 million acres – an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day! Net forest area in Canada remained stable at around 857 million acres during the same period.  (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
  4. Logging to make paper is not considered a cause of deforestation because the trees are expected to grow back through natural regeneration or sustainable forestry practices. (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
  5. 58% of the forestland in the U.S. is owned and managed by private forest owners, which include nearly 11 million family forest owners who typically own less than 100 acres. 89% of wood harvested in the U.S. comes from these private forests, which provide most of the wood for domestically produced paper products. (U.S. Forest Service)
  6. The demand for sustainable paper products provides a strong financial incentive for landowners to manage their land responsibly and keep it forested rather than selling it for development or other non-forest uses. (Dovetail Partners)
  7. In the United States, paper is recycled more than any other material, including plastics, glass and metals. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  8. More than 66% of paper and paper-based packaging produced in the United States is recovered for recycling, and in Canada nearly 70% is recovered and recycled. (American Forest and Paper Association, Forest Products Association of Canada)
  9. Over 65% of the energy used to manufacture U.S. paper comes from renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, primarily wood-based biomass. (American Forest and Paper Association)
  10. The print, paper and mail value chain supports 7.4 million U.S. jobs and contributes $1.5 trillion in sales revenue to the U.S. economy. (EMA Foundation)

Click here for more facts on the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging.

 

Love Paper On-product Logo Now Available!

As support for Two Sides’ consumer-focused Love Paper campaign continues to grow, we are pleased to announced that the Love Paper logo is now available for on-product use!

Any company that uses print, paper and paper-based packaging, including brands, retailers, marketing agencies, printers, and paper and paper-based packaging manufacturers, can use the Love Paper® on-product logo to enhance their own sustainability messages.

The Love Paper® logo is a simple, eye-catching way to tell customers that you care about the environment and use products from an inherently sustainable industry. The logo’s subtle design and color variations are an effective yet unintrusive addition to any paper product, from printed catalogs and books to direct mail and product packaging.

To register to use the Love Paper® logo, simply click here or go to lovepaperna.org and click on the “On-product Logo Use” link at the top of the home page. Your organization must agree to the terms and conditions of logo use and complete the online registration form. You will be authorized to use the Love Paper on-product logo and will receive usage guidelines and a link to downloadable logo files after your application is approved by Two Sides.

Don’t miss the opportunity to promote the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging by using the Love Paper logo on your company’s products!  Register today!

Love Paper® is a registered trademark of Two Sides Ltd, registered as an educational service providing information related to print media, paper and paper-based packaging.

 

Are North American Forests Really Shrinking? What the Data Tell Us

Across all environmental issues related to the manufacture of paper-based products in North America, the harvesting of trees for wood fiber is arguably the most familiar, yet also the most misunderstood. Decades of misguided marketing messages that suggest using less paper protects forests along with deliberate anti-paper campaigns by environmental groups that twist scientific facts to suit their own agendas have left many feeling guilty for using products that are inherently sustainable. They are made from a renewable resource, are recyclable and are among the most recycled products in the world, and are manufactured using a high level of renewable energy – all key elements in a circular economy.

So, what’s the most effective way to reverse the misconceptions of those who believe the North American print, paper and paper-based packaging industry is shrinking U.S. and Canadian forests? It’s simple: Show them the data.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been monitoring the world’s forests at five- to 10-year intervals since 1946. The FAO’s 2020 global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which this important resource changed between 1990 and 2020. The data from 236 countries were collected using commonly agreed upon terms and definitions through a transparent, traceable reporting process and a well-established network of officially nominated national representatives. These include the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Canada.

Since 1990, there has been a net loss of 440 million acres of forests globally, an area larger than the entire state of Alaska. A net change in forest area is the sum of all forest losses (deforestation) and all forest gains (forest expansion) in a given period.  FAO defines deforestation as the conversion of forest to other land uses, regardless of whether it is human-induced. FAO specifically excludes from its definition areas where trees have been removed by harvesting or logging because the forest is expected to regenerate naturally or with the aid of sustainable forestry practices.

In contrast, despite deforestation by urban development, fire, insects and other causes, total forest area in the United States actually increased and forest area in Canada has remained stable since 1990.  This is due in great part to sustainable forest management practices implemented by the North American paper and forest products industry, the highest percentage of certified forests (nearly 50%) in the world, and laws and regulations aimed at protecting forest resources.

Global Data

The world has a total forest area of around 10 billion acres or 31% of total land area. More than half (54%) of these forests are in just five countries – the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China.

Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020 at 9.6 million acres, followed by South America, at 6.4 million acres.

While the net loss of 440 million acres of forest is troubling, there is some improvement in the global numbers. The rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over the period 1990–2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation (establishing forest where none existed previously) and the natural expansion of forests. The annual rate of net forest loss declined from 19.2 million acres in 1990–2000 to 12.8 million acres in 2000–2010 and 11.6 million acres in 2010–2020.

While an estimated 1.04 billion acres of forest have been lost worldwide to deforestation since 1990, the rate of deforestation also declined substantially. Between 2015 and 2020, the annual global rate of deforestation was estimated at around 25 million acres, down from 30 million acres between 2010 and 2015.

Globally, 54% of forests have long-term forest management plans. FAO defines forest management as the process of planning and implementing practices for the stewardship and use of forests targeted at specific environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives. Around 96% of forestlands in Europe has management plans, 64% in Asia, less than 25% in Africa and only 17% in South America.

U.S. and Canada Data

According to the 2020 FRA, the United States and Canada account for 8% and 9%, respectively, of the world’s total forest area.

In the U.S., total forest area increased by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, which averages out to the equivalent of around 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Canada’s total forest area remained relatively stable over the 30-year assessment period at approximately 857 million acres.

Approximately 59% of forestlands in North America has long-term forest management plans.

Help Spread the Word!

The North American print, paper and paper-based packaging industry plays a significant role in keeping U.S. and Canadian forests sustainable for future generations, and that’s something to be very proud of.  One of the best ways to show that pride is by taking every available opportunity to bust the myth that the production of paper products destroys forests.  For more facts to help you spread the word, check out our Two Sides fact sheet on Paper Production and Sustainable Forestry here.

 

 

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