In response to the growth of digital information and the widely-felt desire to conserve natural resources, a website, paperbecause.com, advertised the practical value and ecological properties of paper:
"All over the world, people use paper every day. From eco-friendly 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, excessive energy consumption and crowded landfill sites, it’s been the source of recent 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 store information each and every day? That’s why, for every tree we harvest, several more are planted or naturally regenerated in its place. And it’s not just about sustaining paper. It’s also about sustaining forest life. Domtar harvests trees from forests that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI), ensuring environmental responsibility throughout the life cycle of our products. Domtar EarthChoice® papers are also supported by the Rainforest Alliance and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, and 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 2009, Domtar used an average of 78% 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 2009, over 63 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling.3 To put it in perspective, the recovery rate for metal is 36 percent; glass is 22 percent; and plastic is only 7 percent" (http://www.paperbecause.com/Paper-is-Sustainable/Paper-is-Not-Bad, accessed 10-27-2010).