67% OF U.S. PULP AND PAPER MILLS’ ENERGY NEEDS WERE PROVIDED BY RENEWABLE BIOMASS AND FUELS, ON AVERAGE IN 2014.¹
In 2016, U.S. forests and wood products captured and stored roughly 10% of all carbon dioxide equivalents emitted by the U.S.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2018 2
A look across the entire life cycle shows that paper’s carbon footprint can be divided into three basic elements: greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration and avoided emissions. Each of these elements is influenced by important characteristics that make paper’s carbon footprint smaller than might be expected: it’s made from a renewable resource that stores carbon, is recyclable and is manufactured using mostly renewable energy including biomass, biogas and hydroelectricity.
• Wood stores carbon indefinitely, even as a finished product, helping to reduce the effects of greenhouse gas emissions over the long term. Growing trees also release oxygen into the atmosphere, thereby supporting life on our planet.3
• Greenhouse gas emissions from the pulp and paper industry dropped from 44.2 to 37.7 million metric tons CO2e (15%) between 2011 and 2016 due to improved energy efficiency and increased use of less carbon-intensive fossil fuels and carbon-neutral biomass-based energy sources.3
• The pulp and paper industry in the U.S. was responsible for about 0.5% of the total U.S. CO2e emissions in 2016.4
• In Canada, bioenergy continues to increase its share of the energy mix, accounting for 56% of forest industry energy use in 2014, up from 49% in 2000 and 43% in 1990. Between 2004 and 2014, the Canadian forest industry reduced energy use by 35% and GHG emissions by 49%.5
• With 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the value chain of pulp, paper and print is one of the lowest industrial emitters.6
1 American Forest & Paper Association, 2017
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2018
3 American Forest & Paper Association, 2014
4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017
5 Natural Resources Canada, 2017
6 Ecofys, 2013