Q.1104: Is Paper bad for Environment?

Ans. Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material, and as young trees grow they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a wood product, paper also continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime.

A well managed forest used and replanted absorb more CO2 than a mature forest consisting of older trees.

The paper industry has a number of respected certification schemes ensuring the paper you use has come from a sustainable forest source. There are some 30 schemes in existence, but the two main auditable certifications that have emerged are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

In the period 1990-2010, 870 million tonnes of CO2 have been removed by European forests; equivalent to about 10% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Sustainability Facts
  • Paper production is not a major cause of deforestation
  • Responsible wood, pulp and paper production ensures healthy, growing forests
  • Paper is a fully renewable, sustainable resource
  • European and North American forests are today 30% larger than in 1950
  • Forest certification promotes wood from managed forests
  • The annual increase of forest cover in Europe is equivalent to more than 1.5 million football pitches

Related Question

Is cutting new trees for making paper bad (compare to recycling)?


Recycled fiber degrade after a few cycles and new fiber is needed to reinforcement. It's important to remember that virgin fibre is always required to make recycled paper possible in the first place. 40% of new wood fibre is always needed to keep the global fibre cycle going.

It is very difficult to directly compare the environmental impact of recycled and virgin fibre paper. Both are important and can have an equally strong environmental argument. Forests are part of the cycle that helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This extends from trees to wood and paper products, which continue to store the carbon through their lifetime and help to reduce climate change.

The fact that paper products are recyclable and renewable means that their lifecycle can be extended, prolonging this benefit and reducing waste into the bargain.

Source: Two Side Info

From American Forest

Q: Is it wrong to use paper or other forest products?

A: If done responsibly, no. When timber, paper, medicines, or other products are harvested sustainably, using them does not destroy the local forest or ecosystem and can provide a number of environmental benefits. And because wood is a renewable resource, it’s greener than many other building materials. The key is reducing waste and ensuring that timber is harvested in a sustainable way. By making sure that the companies you buy from are producing their products sustainably, you can encourage other companies to use the same eco-friendly practices.

Q: What does it mean to use forests in a sustainable way?

A: Using forests sustainably means doing so in a way that lets them continue to function as healthy forest ecosystems. This can mean taking down only trees of a certain type or age, planting more trees than are used, maintaining diversity of species and age instead of monocultures, or other forest-friendly methods.

Source:  American Forest

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