Paper and Environment

Paper, whether it is made from fresh wood fibres from sustainably managed forests or recovered paper, is among the most sustainable means of communication in the world. It is made from a renewable resource and is recyclable.

These unique qualities are central to the sustainable nature of the paper industry.

Paper production uses fresh fibre from sustainably managed forests and/or recycled fibre and so the carbon that was stored in the tree as it stood in the forest remains stored during the life of the paper, and continues to do so when the paper is recycled. In Europe, only part of the net forest growth is harvested. The forest carbon stock therefore continues to grow and bio energy and forest products can be used to substitute more carbon intensive products and fuels to give a positive climate effect.

Paper is recyclable

Paper is one of the most recycled products in Europe and the European paper industry is one of the largest recyclers in the world. It is committed to reaching even higher levels of recycling and has already achieved a paper recycling rate of 68.9% in 2010 (European Recovered Paper Council).

Paper and Carbon

A carbon footprintis the amount of greenhouse gases produced or sequestered in the production of a product or the delivery of a service.

A carbon footprint is normally presented in units of kg or g of CO2equivalent (e.g. per tonne of product produced).

The European paper industry is already a major player in the global effort to reduce CO2emissions through the industry’s leading position in generation and use of renewable energy, and its commitment to continuous environmental improvement in manufacturing efficiency. Furthermore, the entire forest products industry makes a unique contribution towards balancing CO2 emissions through the sustainable management and use of wood resources, and increased contribution of forests as carbon sinks.

In order to help present a pan-European view of the carbon footprint of graphic papers, EURO-GRAPH has adopted a common industry approach based on a specially developed manual, covering fossil emissions and biogenic sequestration from the forest to the mill-gate/warehouse based on CEPI Guidelines (also known as the CEPI Ten Toes Framework).

Results of a recent EURO-GRAPH survey based on the manual show that a tonne of paper produced by the European Graphic papers industry has a carbon footprint of 670 kg CO2equivalent and 1,199 kg biogenic carbon is sequestered or “saved”.

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