New research reveals a love for paper and print – but environmental education is needed

CHICAGO, IL (June 18, 2019).  The results of a new survey commissioned by Two Sides reveal a telling insight into the public’s perceptions and attitudes towards print and paper.

Carried out by independent research company Toluna, consumers from across the U.S. (n= 2,094) and Canada (n= 1,044) were surveyed on environmental topics and preferences relating to paper and print.


It is clear from the survey that consumers are concerned about the environment, but there are some obvious gaps between consumer environmental perceptions and the real facts. This is particularly evident for questions related to forest management and recycling.

  • 58% of U.S. consumers surveyed believe U.S. forests have been decreasing in size since the year 2000. In fact, U.S. forests had a net growth of over 1,500 NFL football fields per day since 2000.
  • Only 15% of Americans and 21% of Canadians think the paper recovery rate exceeds 60% when it is over 68% in the U.S and 70% in Canada.

Out of 6 choices, Americans and Canadians rank urban development (first), construction (second) and pulp and paper (third) as having the most impact on global deforestation.  Agriculture was ranked as having the least impact. However, agriculture is the top cause of global deforestation and, in most developed countries such as the U.S. and Canada, pulp and paper is not a cause of forest loss due to government regulations, sustainable forestry practices and forest certification programs.

When it comes to paper purchasing behavior, 70% of Americans and Canadians believe it is important to use paper products from sustainably managed forests. However, only 22-27% pay attention to forest certification labels when purchasing paper.

Out of 8 common materials and products, wood is considered the most environmentally friendly material, followed by paper and glass. Plastic and electronic devices are considered the least environmentally friendly.


When it comes to reading books, magazines and newspapers, print is preferred over digital.

  • 68% of Americans and Canadians believe print is the most enjoyable way to read books
  • 65% of Americans and 59% of Canadians prefer to read magazines in print
  • 53% of Americans and 49% of Canadians prefer to read newspapers in print

Further to print being the preferred medium for reading, the digital push by many corporate service providers (ex: banks, telecoms, utilities, insurance) appears to be unpopular with many consumers. 82% of Canadians and 86% of Americans believe they should have the right to choose how they receive their communications (electronically or printed) and a further 66% (Canada) to 74% (U.S.) agree they should not be charged to receive paper statements.

“It is great to see that print as a communications medium is still preferred by many consumers.  Clearly, people also recognize the sustainable features of paper when compared to many other products, especially electronics and plastic.  However, there is a need to educate consumers on sustainable forestry practices, the real causes of deforestation and the great recycling story of print and paper,” states Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America.



Other Key Findings from the Reports:

Reading Preferences:

  • 71% of Americans and 68% of Canadians believe in the importance of “switching off” their digital devices and reading more in print.
  • 49% of U.S. and 46% of Canadian consumers believe they spend too much time on electronic devices, and over half (53% and 52%) are concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.

Consumer Choice:

  • 85% of U.S. and 80% of Canadian consumers believe they should have the right to revert to paper-based communications even after switching to digital.


  • 54% of U.S. and 56% of Canadian consumers believe only recycled paper should be used to make paper products.  In fact, wood fiber from well-managed forests is essential to papermaking because recycled fiber breaks down after each use and can only be re-used 5-7 times.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • 29% of U.S. and 26% of Canadian consumers believe paper production is a major cause of global GHG emissions.  In fact, the pulp, paper and print industries are a low contributor to the global greenhouse gas inventory with 1% of total global GHG emissions.

About Two Sides 

Two Sides is an independent, nonprofit organization created to promote the responsible production, use, and sustainability of print and paper.  Two Sides is active globally in North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Our members span the entire print and paper value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes, and postal operators.  For more information about Two Sides North America, please contact us at 1-855-896-7433 or Visit the Two Sides website at and follow Two Sides on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Most Consumers See Recycling as Worthwhile and Prefer Paper Packaging

Is recycling worth it? For most consumers, the answer is: yes! Survey data released by the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB) in its 2018 Campaign Impact Report reveals that 83% of consumers surveyed agree recycling paper of all kinds is still worthwhile. The Impact Report also shows that the paper and packaging industry is viewed more favorably than other materials industries.

In a separate survey about packaging, P+PB reports how consumers continue to rely on paper packaging as it plays a role in influencing their purchasing decisions. Products packaged in paper/cardboard were perceived as being more attractive and higher quality by roughly two thirds. Furthermore, 68% of consumers said they were most likely to buy something in a paper or cardboard package if given the choice between paper or plastic.

Read more about P+PB’s survey findings and data about how consumers feel about paper recycling and packaging

CD Howe Report Explores the Future of Canada’s Forest Products Sector

From a news release from the Forest Products Association of Canada

Vancouver, BC – Earlier today, the C.D. Howe Institute released a new report entitled: “Branching out: How Canada’s Forest Products Sector is Reshaping its Future”. The study explores current industry trends and advancements that Canada’s forest products sector has made in the face of growing business challenges. It also provides a number of recommendations, which would enable the sector to enhance its contributions to the Canadian economy and our country’s environmental goals.

“Canada’s forest products sector is undergoing a period of massive and exciting transformation. This is critical to sustaining and growing job opportunities for workers and families in our northern and rural forestry communities,” said Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). “We see rapid growth in the use of wood in building construction, emerging wood fiber-based products that can replace more carbon intensive ones, and innovative ideas and process improvements in our forests and at our mills that can deliver even greater environmental and economic benefits to Canada and the world,” he added.

As noted by study author Eric Miller: “Canada’s forest sector shows potential as a leader in innovation, environmental sustainability and international trade”. The report proposed the following ideas for action:

  • Scale up the government contributions to FPInnovations, a non-profit innovation hub for the forestry industry, and other vehicles with a successful track record of commercialization;
  • Consolidate the early product and process innovations supported by the federal government in partnership with the industry to make Canada a global leader in the emerging “tall wood building space”;
  • Endeavour to ensure “regulatory neutrality” for the use of emerging wood and woodbased products;
  • Create a window supported by carbon tax revenues to drive innovative local solutions to forest management, adaption and utilization; and,
  • Develop a sectoral arrangement on trade in forest products with China, focused on the construction sector.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $69-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in more than 600 communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.

Click here to view the original article 

Mopria Workflow Survey: Paper is Still Important in Office Workflows

Mopria, a global non-profit formed to provide standards and solutions for printing and scanning, has released the results of their Mopria Workflow Survey. The findings indicate that paper is still important in office workflows. The survey results refute a common assumption that workers prefer digital only workflows and demonstrate balanced preferences between paper and digital media. Mopria surveyed 1,377 individuals between the ages of 25 to 65 who work in an office setting. Among the key findings, the results showed that:

  • 84% take notes on paper
  • 80.5% of workers enjoy the feel of pen and paper
  • 71% believe they are more likely to remember their notes later if they take it on paper

“In a world with highly digital workflows, we were surprised to find that such endearment still exists for traditional handwritten notes,” said Greg Kuziej, Chairman of the Board at the Mopria Alliance. “It follows the old saying, ‘the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory’.”

Learn more about why people love learning on paper with our Two Sides Infographic

Read more about the survey here:

U.S. Paper Recovery Rate Reaches 68.1% in 2018

The paper recovery rate is a metric used to show how much of the paper used in the U.S. is recycled into new products over a given period. The American Paper and Forest Association (AF&PA) reports that 68.1% of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2018. According to the AF&PA: “..paper recovery for recycling helps extend the life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of the industry’s sustainability story.” As part of the AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative, the industry aims to exceed 70% paper recovery for recycling by 2020.

Learn more about how paper is one of the most recycled products in the world with our Two Sides Fact Sheet

Read more about the U.S. rate of paper recovery:

AF&PA Media News – U.S. Paper Recovery for Recycling Rate Reaches Record 68.1 Percent in 2018

AF&PA Blog – Paper Recover Rate for Recycling a New Record Rate 

AF&PA Wants You to Use Wood and Paper Products with Pride

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) wants you to celebrate Earth Day every day by embracing the use of paper and wood products. Jeff Bradley, Manager of Forestry & Wood Products Policy, shares some of the benefits of working forests and sustainable forest management. This includes providing clean air, clean water, habitats for wildlife, and biodiversity. He writes: “Demand for paper and wood products supports these forests. Tree farmers are able to make an income by harvesting trees, encouraging them to keep their forests as forests by replanting trees.” He further states that demand for paper products helps protect forests from being “… turned into other land uses like parking lots or cornfields.” Read the full article here.

USW Paper Workers Challenge “Digital Only” Green Claims

Last month, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette  shared a sticker with their subscribers that stated: “In honor of Earth Day, the Post-Gazette will not print on Monday, April 22.” This claim prompted Leeann Foster, Assistant to the International President of the United Steelworkers, to write a letter to the newspaper, addressing the greenwashing claim that digital-only news is more environmentally friendly. She shared, “It simply is not black and white to say that digital communication is green and paper is not. In 2016, for example, 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste was generated globally…Paper, however, is a highly and easily recyclable product that is used again and again to make more paper and boxes.” Supporting her letter with facts, Ms. Foster provided a link to our popular Two Sides  Myths and Facts page. Her full letter was posted on the USW Paperworkers Facebook Page and was shared, commented on, and liked by the community.

PAPER, PACKAGING, AND PRINT: A Sustainability Story We Love to Tell

Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America was recently interviewed by Cindy Woods, President and CEO of The CMO Team, a creative and content marketing agency located in Marietta, Georgia, specializing in marketing solutions for print organizations. The resulting article headlined PAPER, PACKAGING, AND PRINT: A Sustainability Story We Love to Tell has been featured in Spring 2019 editions of various print and graphics company-branded publications throughout the US.

Riebel focused the conversation on responsible forest management and the recyclability of paper products. He shared that there is a strong story to tell in North America about how forests are being better managed, despite the negative imagery in the media. When it comes to recycling, Riebel says few products are as recyclable as paper and packaging. To date in North America, Two Sides has approached 177 companies about their negative claims around the use of paper, and 118 of them (66%) have removed those claims after becoming more educated on the topic. “We’ve had several decades to research, report, and act on the full impact our manufacturing processes have had on the environment, and the research continues,” says Riebel. “We can say with certainty that it has driven some of the strongest and most successful environmental-responsibility changes any industry has undergone in ages, and there is more to come.”

You will find the entire article published in the spring edition of one:one magazine as well as other print and graphics company publications around the US.

Deforestation in Canada and Other Fake News

Two Sides featured prominently in new book by John Mullinder

John Mullinder started his journalistic career in New Zealand before emigrating to Canada in the mid-1980s. Over the past 27 years, Mr. Mullinder has led a national environmental council for the country’s paper packaging industry. Frustrated by encounters with people who knew so little about forestry and paper production but had plenty of opinions about killing and saving trees, John was compelled to write a book called, Deforestation in Canada and Other Fake News.

“Many people believe that cutting down trees is deforestation and the emotional image they associate with this is an ugly clear cut,” states Mr. Mullinder.  “I debunk these myths with hard facts, well-documented evidence, references and real images of deforestation.”

Deforestation is often incorrectly defined and associated with the forestry products industry. In reality, deforestation is defined as the permanent destruction of forests to make the land available for other uses. One reason Mr. Mullinder chose to show an agricultural scene on the cover of his book is to point out that the primary causes of deforestation are due to agriculture, oil and gas projects, and urbanization.

Information from Two Sides and Dovetail Partners helped to debunk myths that are key to understanding the value of supporting the forestry and paper industry.

  • The first is the myth that saving paper saves trees. Although it can seem counterintuitive, research shows that using paper and wood products is an essential component in maintaining forested land.
  • And the second is that digital has a minimal environmental impact compared to print. Trees are actually a renewable resource and are continuously replenished when managed with sustainable forestry practices. There are raw material, energy, and landfill environmental impacts to consider when using digital devices.

We asked Mr. Mullinder what he thought the biggest challenges were to combat the misinformation around the forestry industry. He believes that the reach and impact of negative visual images and widespread misinformation on social media influences the reader’s perception, especially the younger generation.  Although the forest and paper industry has greatly improved its environmental performance over the past 50 years, there is still a great deal of work to be done to combat the distorted information. Mr. Mullinder believes the industry needs to continue to aggressively educate the public through organizations like Two Sides, to establish credibility while telling the strong story about the renewability, sustainability, and recyclability of forestry and paper.

Click here for more information about John Mullinder, or to learn more about his book.

Two Sides members are provided with a wealth of fact-based tools and information that companies, schools, authors and organizations can use to support their own educational goals.  Connect with us online at and through social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  To join us, please visit the Two Sides Membership page, contact us by email at or by phone at 855-896-7433.

Paper and Sustainable Forestry have a Voice in U.S. Congress

U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) holds a Master’s Degree in Forestry from Yale University and understands better than most that a healthy and sustainably managed forest is not a partisan issue.

The use of forest products by society drives a healthy market as well as the incentive for forest owners to manage their forests sustainably.  In other words, wood product use, paired with a commitment to recycling and sustainable forest management, including replanting many more trees than we use (standard practice in North America), will result in healthy, vibrant forests.

Read the details of Representative Westerman’s story about sustainable forestry, economics, family forests, and forestry jobs in Arkansas and how by working together it makes for healthy forests.

Read more