Global Recycling Day: Why paper is one of the few truly sustainable products

18/03/2019

Paper is made from a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and compostable. These features, combined with the use of renewable, carbon -neutral biofuels and advances in paper-making technology, make paper a product with inherent and unique sustainable features.

Paper has been an integral part of our cultural development and is essential for modern life. Paper helps to increase levels of literacy and democracy worldwide and plays an important role in protecting goods and foodstuffs during transit.

Paper is made from renewable resources, responsibly produced and used paper has many advantages over other, non-renewable alternative materials: 

1) Paper is recyclable and one of the most recycled commodities in Europe.

The benefits of paper recycling include: extending the supply of wood fibre; reducing greenhouse gas emissions that can contribute to climate change by avoiding methane emissions (which are released when paper decomposes in landfills or is incinerated); contributing to carbon sequestration; reducing the amount of energy needed to produce some paper products; and saving considerable landfill space.

2) The print and paper industry accounts for only 1.1% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2007, the net sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere into the forest products value chain was 424 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, enough to offset 86% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing forest products, and almost half of the value chain’s total emissions.

3) The biomass emissions from paper-making are part of the natural carbon balance and do not add to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, unlike emissions from fossil fuel.

The forests that provide that biomass support key climate change mitigation technologies and practices currently commercially available including, afforestation; reforestation; forest management; reduced deforestation; harvested wood product management; use of forestry products for bioenergy to replace fossil fuel use; tree species improvement to increase biomass productivity and carbon sequestration; improved remote sensing technologies for analysis of vegetation/soil carbon sequestration potential and mapping land-use change.

Our sector is the largest industrial producer of bioenergy, generating 20% of the biomass based energy in Europe.

4) Today, 95.2% of electricity is produced on-site in paper mills using the energy-efficient combined heat and power method.

CHP systems are highly efficient (up to 80% efficiency compared to about 50% for traditional fossil-fuel powered systems) and have lower emissions than separate heat and power generation.

At Duplo we support sustainable paper production and printing, we believe print and paper is renewable, sustainable and powerful. If you print, please recycle.

To find out more about sustainable printing please visit our partner Two Sides.

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