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335215.  Tue May 13, 2008 4:54 am Reply with quote

Q: What is paper made from?

F: Trees.

A: Paper.

More than half of all paper made in the world today is made from recycled paper, or from agricultural residues.

That’s just as well, given that papermaking is still one of the filthiest and most damaging industries known to man.

Making one tonne of paper uses as much energy as making one tonne of steel, and more waster than any other industrial process.

Because of the chemical used to whiten paper, paper mills tend to be amongst the worst of all polluters - as every country discovers as it goes through its industrialisation. The Chinese government is currently closing down many thousands of paper mills, because they make the water supply downstream undrinkable.

The average Briton uses 250kg of paper per year; that’s about 5 times the global mean. The Yanks use 312, but the world’s most profligate paper-users are the Finns, at 333kg per person per year. That is more than 15,000 times as much as the average Somalian - who uses 20g (not kg - g), equivalent to about 4 sheets of A4.

One day’s paper use in the world would (if it weren't for recycling) require 12 million trees - about 250 square kilometres of forest.

Even with all the recycling, 42% of all wood commercially felled on Earth goes to the paper industry. And - contrary to popular belief - 70% of all wood used for paper comes from natural forests, not from plantations; in other words, the idea that paper is a sustainable, managed business is just a comforting myth.

Britain’s biggest supplier is Canada, where 90% of wood felled for paper comes from natural forests. To put it crudely, almost all paper is made from one of two things: recycled paper, or ancient forests.

Environmentalists are especially campaigning against Kimberley-Clark, the company that makes Andrex and Kleenex, and which Greenpeace accuses of “wiping away ancient forests”.

In the UK, paper recovery (through recycling) has increased fivefold since 2000, and now stands at about two thirds of consumption.

It is estimated that 75% of all paper used in the magazine industry is “never seen by a reader” - taking into account mill waste, print waste, overruns and returns.

S: Clean Slate magazine, Winter 2008.

Links: Forests; Finland; Flora

335228.  Tue May 13, 2008 5:44 am Reply with quote

This seems good, although at the moment the question is pulling in the opposite direction to the note - ie the Q&A says "don't worry, it's not as bad as you think; most paper is recycled" but the note says "it's worse than you think".

335234.  Tue May 13, 2008 5:54 am Reply with quote

Well, I think the Q&A works as a Gen Ig (albeit a bit of a "trick" one) - but then the notes lead to a broader view of the problem; so the progression is something along the lines of "Most paper is recycled, and here's why it had bloody well better be, and why 'most' still isn't enough ..."


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