The print and paper industry is surrounded by myths, many of which are rooted in historical misconceptions about paper’s impact on forests. For many years, service providers have reinforced these environmental myths in their efforts to move consumers to digital communications. Therefore the need to raise awareness of paper’s sustainability is now more important than ever.
FACT: Between 2005 and 2020, European forests grew by 58,390km2 – that is equivalent to 1500 football pitches of forest growth every day. These forests supply over 90% of the wood used by the European paper industry.
FACT: Because fibre degrades after time, virgin fibre is essential to European paper production. 56% of the fibre used by the European paper industry comes from paper for recycling.
FACT: Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material. As young trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a wood product , paper continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime, the equivalent to removing 693 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.
FACT: 73.9% of paper is recycled in Europe – close to the practical maximum of 78%. In Europe, paper fibres are reused 3.8 times on average.
FACT: The ICT industry accounts for 2.5 – 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, that is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040. In Europe print and paper products are one of the lowest industrial greenhouse gas emitters at 0.8%. In 2019, 53.6 million metric tonnes of ewaste was generated across the world. Just 17.4% was collected and recycled.
Source: Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World, Two Sides, www.twosides.info.