Chlorine Free Paper Issues


Welcome to the Listening Study!

Questions about environmental printing and writing papers have proliferated over the past 15 years or more. Arguments about some of the issues have been intense and often contentious. On some issues, industry and environmentalists have become deadlocked and purchasers have become confused or uncertain about the "right" answers to guide them in their paper choices. In too many cases, this has resulted in no progress at all.

What if, instead, there were a place for everyone to discuss these issues in a respectful, thoughtful, candid and objective way? What if each of us were able to step back, take a deep breath, and listen . . . . Get a better idea of the whole, multi-faceted complexity of each issue. Hear what's behind each argument and understand better why each side holds fast to it.

What if paper purchasers and environmental paper advocates could get the benefit of the latest know-how from paper and equipment manufacturers, printers and other paper experts - conversations many otherwise have little access to? What if purchasers and industry representatives could see the in-depth research and thinking behind many of the environmental arguments? What if all of us had a place where we could truly "listen" to each other without feeling that that jeopardized our own position?

That is the purpose of the Listening Study. Questions of environmental impacts, technology and production are too big, too complex, and have too many effects on the larger society to be decided by only one side of an argument. Rather, and epecially with arguments as rancorous as many have been within environmental paper issues, each side generally has a piece of the truth. Success only results from finding a way to put those pieces together.

In order to see what each of these pieces of the truth is, in order to start putting them together, in order to find a way to resolve them, we need to lay out all the different aspects and arguments, with value and respect for each, so that all of us are on the same - very large - page. Then we can begin to make sense of it all and find a way through.

This website represents an ongoing discussion, with reports frequently updated, divided into the following categories:

Market Factors - Paper industry data, distribution, pricing issues, environmental purchasing campaigns, performance requirements

Recycled Content Issues - Recycled content issues, recovered fiber collection, deinking, impact on forests, packaging, performance

Chlorine Free Paper Issues - Types of bleaching systems and comparisons, environmental and health issues, terminology, performance

Tree Free Paper Issues - Comparison of alternative fibers with environmental impacts, agricultural residues and on-purpose crops, pulping, application to papermaking, price issues, recyclability

Sustainable Forest Issues - Sustainable forestry, old growth, use in papermaking, benefits of tree fibers, general and regional impacts of forestry, genetic engineering, labeling and certification, plantations

Interaction Between Issues - Optimal content standards, precedence of environmental attributes, recyclability, evaluation, certification, labeling, environmental production processes, investment impacts on decision-making

Conclusions, Next Steps, Recommendations - When do we know enough to act, globalization, financial risks and investments, needed actions

Bibliography - Listing of all reports, publications, films, and videos referenced in the Listening Study

We want and welcome comments, feedback, arguments, observations, studies, tests, and other information from all concerned with these issues. Please Join the Discussion!


The Listening Study is a project of Conservatree
Copyright 2003-2011 Conservatree

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Market Factors Conclusion Recycled Content Issues Chlorine Free Paper Issues Sustainable Forest Issues Tree Free Paper Issues Join the Discussion View all PDF documents Bibliography Overview Project Director Project Partners FAQ Email Us