In a recent interview on Blog Talk Radio, Tim Spring, president of Marcal Paper, explained to me that virgin tree pulp is the most common source for paper towels, napkins, bath and facial tissues found on store shelves.
However, virgin tree fiber is obtained only one way: by killing trees.
As we all know, cutting down trees contributes to the release of greenhouse gases, whereas planting trees sequesters them. This, of course, can have a direct impact on the effects of global warming. While industry spokespeople like to say that the virgin fiber industry actually supports sustainable forests, which can take up carbon, there's no denying the fact that it takes less energy to make something out of recycled fiber than to harvest and transport pulp from a felled tree.
As I stated in another article I wrote about Marcal Paper's Marcal Small Steps campaign, 98% of all paper towels, napkins, bath and facial tissue used in American homes is made from virgin fiber, whereas Marcal uses 100% recycled paper.
This information has to get out there. So my friends here's a top 10 list from Marcal Small Steps:
10. Americans uses approximately 800 pounds per capita of paper per year. - Resource Conservation Alliance
9. Every 17 trees saved helps the earth absorb 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. - AmeriFlow Recycling Inc.
8. Every American uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree's-worth of paper and wood products per year. - American Forest and Paper Association
7. A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four. - U.S. Department of Agriculture and Bombay Natural History Society
6. Half of the world's forests have already been cleared or burned, and 80 percent of what is left has been seriously degraded. - Environmental Paper Network
5. One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. - U.S. Department of Agriculture and Bombay Natural History Society
4. The average U.S. office worker produces two pounds of paper waste per day. - Envirowise
3. Manufacturing one pound of paper requires three and a half pounds of wood and produces three pounds of carbon dioxide. - Nature Canada
2. Discarded paper is one of the largest contributors to methane emissions from landfills. (Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent in its effects than CO2.) - Ernest Mayer, "What Evolution is 2001"
1. An EPA study concluded that "Federal subsidies of virgin paper product undoubtedly cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars." - Federal Disincentives: A Study of Federal Tax Subsidies and Other Programs Affecting Virgin Industries and Recycling (Washington, DC: EPA, August 1994), p.5.
For the sake of our planet, why not try to at least embrace some of the concerns in this campaign for at least one second per day?
Now imagine if everyone in the United States for just ONE DAY bought a recycled paper product, we can save 1 million trees from deforestation. Imagine if we just buy a product that deals with our hands, face and, well ya know, to save the planet today. That's a great step in the right direction.
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