Chlorine Free Paper Issues

 

LISTENING STUDY Question 41:
Do the environmental impacts vary by type of tree free fiber?

Absolutely. - Jeanne Trombly, Fiber Futures

Yes. The raw material greatly affects the agricultural and processing impacts. Different fibers have varying impacts on land and water. If the source of the raw material is outside the United States, there may be additional humanitarian and environmental concerns. Pulping efficiencies will be based on the chemical makeup of the raw material. - Tom Rymsza, President, Vision Paper

Yes. The environmental impacts depend on what type of farming practices are being used. Rotation crop farming is far less damaging than current industrial chemical agricultural practices. - Living Tree Paper Company

Highly. They vary by fiber greatly. Some are darker/lighter; some require more mechanical input, some require more chemical input. Some can be grown specifically for paper. Other fibers are gleaned from crop residues. All fibers used for papermaking have some form of environmental impact. In an ideal world, which is not inconceivable in this instance, the paper industry would use a mixture of fibers from different sources to make paper. This would help relieve pressures on our forests, while adding income to struggling farmers. - Peter Hopkins, Environmental Papers Consultant for Crane Paper Company, Gargan Communications

Definitely, in general, if you can make use of an agricultural waste stream, that's better for the entire system. Kenaf and hemp are pretty similar in terms of their environmental impacts. - Jeff Mendelson, President, New Leaf Paper

Yes, some agricultural fibers require higher nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides. Crop residuals do not increase environmental impact. Crops that need not be harvested every year lower impacts. - Michael Jackson, Consultant, Tolovana Park, OR

Yes, very much so. Different fiber sources for different regions (ie: pine in the hills of the Southeast, switchgrass in Illinois, kenaf in the Mississippi Delta, and hesperaloe in the Southwest desert) build a diversified fiber supply and use natural resources most efficiently while minimizing impacts. - Peter A. Nelson, President, AgroTech Communications, Inc.

Yes. The principal variables that must be considered include the need for (and amounts of) herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and water by fiber type. Also critical to the overall environmental cost of such fibers is the intensiveness of the management required to raise and harvest the fiber, the soil types required, and the weather characteristics needed. Since environmental sensitivity is highly variable based on these factors, expect great variation by fiber type and variation within a fiber type based on location, soils, and growing season. - International Paper

Some agricultural fibers have lignin content of 3% (Table 4), some much higher and the pulping condition would be different. Also, being agricultural fibers, some fibers will contain nutrients and these have to be removed. - James S. Han, Research Chemist, USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory

Arundo Donax has a greater yield than kenaf and other alternative fibers. Arundo donax is a perennial so you only have to plant it once. You don't need to till annually. Generally an acre provides 100 green tons (complete mass of plant). The amount harvestable for pulp is that divided by 2.42: 41 dry tons/acre. - Ernett Altherimer, Founder and Chairman, Nile Fiber


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