Myth v. Fact: Only Recycled Paper Should Be Used
Myth: Only recycled paper should be used.
Fact: Recycled fiber and wood fiber from well-managed forests are both essential to sustain the paper life cycle.
While recycling paper and reusing it in new products is good for the environment, there are other factors that influence paper’s environmental footprint. Curious to learn what exactly that means? Let’s take a look.
- After being recycled 7 times, paper fibers become too short and weak, causing them to break down. This is why it’s important that we have a continuous supply of fresh fiber harvested from responsibly managed forests. In the U.S. and Canada, the majority of this fresh fiber comes from sawmill chips which are a by-product of lumber production.
- Furthermore, North America benefits from a good supply of recycled fiber which is used locally to manufacture paper products. The re-use of this fiber is a sound environmental solution.
- Globally, 82% of recovered paper is used in tissue, container boards, and other packaging or board products. Approximately 6% of the recovered paper supply is used in printing and writing grades. (Sappi Fine Paper North America, 2013)
- Without fresh wood, the production of paper will cease within 6 to 18 months depending on the paper grade. (Metafore, 2006)
- At least 15% of paper products are permanently removed from the fiber cycle, such as one-time use products (ex: tissues, sanitary products, medical supplies) and books or files that are stored for long periods of time. (American Forest & Paper Association, 2011)
- “To make the global fiber cycle work, a continual input of 35% to 65% of fresh wood fiber is needed depending on the grade of the paper manufactured.” (Metafore, 2006)