Chlorine Free Paper Issues


What are the benefits of using tree fibers in paper?

LISTENING STUDY: Most responses indicate that trees are a renewable resource and that forests have many ecological benefits. Some responses state that the technology is already in place for converting tree fibers into paper, making trees a relatively inexpensive fiber source for paper.

Using virgin tree fiber contributes functional benefits, such as strength, that can be lacking in recovered fibers. But the largest environmental benefits actually come from maximizing postconsumer fiber. Incorporating postconsumer recycled content into paper reduces the demand for wood, lessening the adverse environmental and health impacts of commercial forestry. At a paper mill, making recycled paper is generally cleaner than making virgin paper because much of the work of separating the fibers and bleaching the pulp has already been done. Finally, recycling also reduces the amount of trash that must be disposed of in landfills and incinerators, which cuts pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. - Victoria Mills, Project Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense

Like many other companies and research organizations, Boise has also explored the potential for alternative fibers (for paper). However, following a review of the research, we , along with others, have concluded that the broad use of such fibers is not a viable alternative to wood fiber. Large quantities of paper that meets customers' quality and cost expectations cannot be produced from alternative sources using available technology. In addition, the use of these fibers presents many negative environmental and land use implications. - Boise Cascade

The benefits are that paper can be made from tree fibers and tree fibers can be produced by growing trees in healthy functioning forests that also happen to do and provide much more than fibers alone. - Michael Snyder, Forester

Tree fibers are a renewable raw material. Forests provide much better habitat, water protection, and other environmental values than agricultural monocultures that might be used in paper products. Tree fibers are still needed to produce recycled paper because recycled fibers only last 3 or 4 "rotations" until they are degraded beyond use. It usually takes less fossil fuel based energy to produce paper from virgin tree fibers than recycled paper.
     Using trees provides an incentive for landowners to keep their lands forested. If there is no longer a market for trees, landowners may choose to sell their land for other uses or develop them. At a pragmatic and realistic level, trees are a relatively cheap resource in many parts of the world, i.e. Russia, and will continue to be used for forest products by the people of these nations to help improve their economies. - International Paper

Old growth trees are valued for their long fibers that contribute to the strength of papers. However, there is no advantage to using plantation or young second-growth trees because they do not have long fibers. - Susan Hammond, Executive Director, Silva Forest Foundation

Trees are a renewable resource and with sustainable forest management can provide us with the fiber we need for paper, building, fuel and other uses. These sustainably managed forests also provide us with additional benefits such as enhanced wildlife habitat, increased forest vigor, recreation opportunities and forest fire prevention. - Stora Enso

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