Ten Reasons To Support The Best Environmentally Made Papers Available

1. The forests

Over 40 percent of the global industrial wood harvest is pulped for paper. The last remaining old-growth forests in northern Canada, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Siberia, and other areas are now being logged for pulp wood as well as plantation conversion. At home in the southeastern United States, the world’s largest pulp producing region, an estimated 5 million acres of forests are logged for paper each year (an area the size of New Jersey).

2. Economic and human population growth

U.S. citizens consume an annual average of over 600 pounds of paper per person. Global pulp and paper consumption is predicted to rise dramatically over the next 20 years – by as much as 80 percent according to some estimates. Leading the way will be printing and writing as well as office paper grades. In The Myth of the Paperless Office (MIT Press, 2001), the authors report that the adoption of e-mail alone causes an organization to increase its paper consumption by an average of 40 percent. Any gains in production efficiencies achieved by the industry may not be enough to offset the massive growth in worldwide demand for paper in the coming decades.

3. Invisibles

Many of the impacts of modern paper production occur far beyond our visual scope and take effect cumulatively, over long periods of time. Take water, for example. The pulp and paper industry consumes more water per ton of product than any other industry. Everyday, thousands of gallons of waste water containing barely detectable but persistently toxic bleaching and pulping compounds are released from paper mills. Paper production is also energy-intensive, rivaling steel and iron in the amount of energy used per ton of product. Worldwide, it is the fifth largest consumer of energy, with significant greenhouse gases (nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds) resulting from this energy production.

4. Stump to dump life cycles

According to the GrassRoots Recycling Network, over half of U.S. paper travels a linear path between the forest, mills, end-users, and landfills. Landfills are the primary source of man-made, climate altering methane emissions. Because paper products are the number one component in landfills, they earn the rank as the chief culprit in methane production.

5. Inefficiencies

Producing one ton of paper from virgin wood fibers requires 2 to 3.5 tons of trees. Chipping, grinding, whitening, rinsing, and separating the useful fibers from the lignins that bind them together as tree cellulose requires water, energy, and chemicals, and generate air, water, and solid waste pollution as byproducts.

6. Recycling cuts impacts

It has been well documented that using recycled materials to produce new papers can save significant amounts of materials, water, chemicals, and energy. Nearly a ton of recovered paper can be pulped to produce a ton of recycled stock. Because recycled fibers have already been converted, reprocessing requires between 10 and 40 percent of the energy needed in virgin processing. Although I support recycling not a big fan of recycled papers the labeling and information be provided is very misleading will address this in future blogs.

7. Urban forests

New York City contains more cellulose per acre (due to paper consumption) than the Amazon rainforest, according to senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. In fact, scrap paper is the number one export from the port of New York. Optimizing the amount of recycled materials available in urban areas around the world could allow us to shift the burden away from consuming the forests for paper products. Let’s not forget textile castaways, the original paper fiber!

8. Virgin junk mail

Each year, retailers send the equivalent of 59 catalogs for every U.S. citizen – a total of nearly 17 billion.  According to a study by Environmental Defense, only 6 out of 42 major catalog companies specify papers with significant recycled content, while most use 100 percent virgin paper. Oregon-based company worked with suppliers to source paper with at least 10 percent post-consumer content with comparable production values and at no additional costs.

9. Chlorine processing

The pulping and whitening of virgin wood fibers with chlorine bleaches (chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and sodium hypochlorite) produce hazardous byproducts, including dioxins, furans, and other absorbable organic halides. Recognizing this, the worldwide pulp and paper industry has primarily moved toward Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) processing, which cuts measurable discharges by as much 90 percent – but by no means eliminates them (unless combined with enhanced delignification technologies). The most environmentally preferable bleaching processes for virgin pulp are Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) for virgin and Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) for recycled fibers. They substitute oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, or ozone in the processing sequence.

10. Farm-raised alternatives

While industrial agriculture is not without serious environmental consequences, the use of multi-purpose fiber crops such as banana, hemp, kenaf, and flax as well as crop residues like straw, bagasse, and cotton linters, can also help to relieve pressure on forests. In general, these fibers require far less chemicals, water, and energy to process. Keeping up with the continual changes in mill ownership, grade specifications, and pulping processes is not always an easy endeavor. But as paper users and global citizens, it’s part of our duty to make the most informed purchasing decisions possible. Mills could help us by creating a standard label that clearly identifies the exact fiber contents and pulping processes. In the mean time, the onus is on the purchaser. Recycling means more than just participating in curbside and office collection programs, it requires active participation as paper buyers in all aspects of our home and work lives. This is what builds markets and will ultimately help to decrease prices and improve quality. And while maximizing recycled content should be our bottom line, we must not forget to support chlorine-free technologies, and agricultural fibers.

Can Children Become Sustainability Thinkers

Published 01 27, 2012 -

Children can Become Sustainability Thinkers


We can leave the world better than we found it, through our children and learning ourselves a long the way


Sustainability Is a Way of Thinking and Living- 

To me, sustainability implies a way of thinking and living. I have choosen to teach children, students, friends and family that our dear planet Earth is a closed system and that everything is inter-related. Healthy natural cycles are essential to the well being of this system. I like them to understand their part in our system, to care for our planet and others to feel empowered that they can make a difference.

  Developing an Appreciation for the Natural Environment

 Children can initially develop an appreciation for the natural environment, its creatures and other human beings around the world. We can share ample opportunities for both play and active exploration opportunities outdoors to develop respect for nature. Reading books and watching educational programs can help them experience the amazing diversity of life on our planet when there is not the opportunity to go outdoors.

Learning about the Earth is not just about facts. Sharing Nature with Children suggests teaching less and sharing more.

Sharing with children the bare facts of nature (“This is a Redwood tree”), I like to tell them about my inner feeling in the presence of that Redwood tree.

In nature, encourage children to experience the wonder by looking at ordinary things in great detail – a leaf, a snail crossing the trail, the underside of a fern, life under a rock. 

Emphasize Our Connection With Others


Sustainability goes beyond the environment as well, it includes people. It considers the present and future quality of life in a community -economic, social and environmental.

I believe education should emphasize our connection with other people and species, and between human and planetary systems. We are connected to other people, other species, and other lands through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the items and materials we use everyday, and our common reliance on a healthy environment. By gaining an understanding of this global interdependence, children become better equipped to make everyday choices that respect the rights of others and lessen their impact on the Earth’s life support systems.

Share about the world’s human geography demographics. Look at a miniature global village where you break down our population demographics into 100 people. Discuss food miles and where and how things are made.   Let them know that we are all part of the same web of life and that we are all inter-related.

  Sustainability Involves

Making Conscious Decisions

Sustainability involves making conscious decisions about how one’s actions impact the environment, our community, and the world. This goes far beyond the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Moving towards a sustainable future involves a change in the way our society thinks and behaves. We can think about the choices we make each day. We can understand the greater impact from our decisions such as choosing a present for our friend’s birthday, eating lunch at a fast food restaurant and even choosing a career to pursue.

Children can be empowered early on to take part in sustainability by helping them discover small ways they can take individual and group action to make a difference. Our children are the future. We choose to help them gain the understanding and motivation to help change the world.

Discussion Questions on Sustainability for Children and Students


The following are some discussion questions that will help our children or students move towards becoming “sustainable thinkers.”

• What natural systems create life on our planet? (air, water, energy)

• What is a food chain and a food web??

• What is a habitat??• What is an eco-system??

• What are the many functions of trees??

• Why is the planet currently loosing trees??

• What is the current population growth??

• Where do most of the world’s population live??

• What is the average annual income there?

• What is global warming and its causes??

• What types of pollution are there and its causes??

• What are renewable and non-renewable resources??

• What is your ecological footprint??

• What is organic food??

• Why is organic food more expensive??

• Where is our food grown??

• What are food miles??

• Who is growing our food??

• Where are your clothes made??

• Who is making the products you buy??

• Who has access to more sustainable choices??

• What are ways you can make a difference??

• How can you use less (i.e., reduce)?

• What do you really need to live happily??

• How can we help others??

• What are some positive contributions people, organizations and countries are making?

Activities to Encourage Sustainable Thinkers


Start a nature journal

• Set up a compost bin

• Start a small produce garden (or container garden)

• Take regular nature walks

•Visit a dump and recycling depot

• Visit an organic farm

• Plant or adopt a tree

• Collect non-perishable foods items for local food banks

• Fund-raise for a world hunger aid organization

• Raise money for a child’s education or environmental project

• Study in detail a localized ecosystem such as an old log

• Collect your garbage for a day (or week)

• Check out the movie Garbage Revolution!?

• Draw or paint a picture of a sustainable world

• Take out a globe and track down where everything in a room comes from

• Educate others by making posters for your community centre or school bulletin board

• Write a story or poem to share with others or have published.

Please contact us to share your ideas!

Love ya and thanks
Harry Johansing

Posted by: The Banana Paper Guy

Eliminate toxic BPA in baby products

Eliminate toxic BPA in baby products Published September 21, 2010 -

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used toxic chemical that acts in our bodies like the hormone estrogen. Hundreds of independent studies have linked BPA to a range of health problems, including increased susceptibility to breast and prostate cancer, early puberty and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism. More than 90 percent of people in the United States carry BPA residues in their bodies, and BPA has been found in urine, breast milk, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood and other body fluids. Humans break down and excrete BPA within a few days, so the fact that the chemical is consistently measured in our bodies means that we are constantly being exposed. For most people, the biggest source of exposure is presumed to be contaminated food, as BPA has been detected in infant formula, canned food and beverages.

BPA was approved as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s. During the Bush administration the FDA concluded that BPA exposure levels were “safe,” but the finding relied solely on two studies funded by the chemical industry, and was sharply criticized by the FDA’s own scientific board of advisors for being inconsistent with the available evidence. Today BPA remains unregulated. In the coming days the Senate is set to consider the Food Safety Modernization Act, which would address many of the threats to our food supply, including E coli. and salmonella contamination. But the bill currently does not include any provision to address contamination of our food supply with BPA. Senator Feinstein (D-CA) wants to offer an amendment that would at least eliminate the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food packaging, baby bottles and sippy cups. The chemical industry, however, is trying to prevent the food safety bills from coming to a vote. What to do
?  Send a message by voting with your dollars, purchase only sustainable and organic items that are obviously not plastic or toxic. By raising awareness and voting with our purchases we can eliminate the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food packaging, baby bottles and yes sippy cups.


535 million trees

Published February 3, 2009 – 2:42pm Posted by: The Banana Paper Guy

Americans use approximately 31.5 million tons of printing and writing paper each year, an amount requiring over 535 million trees and countless gallons of oil to produce (the figure of oil usage, you’d be embarrassed to know).

More paper products are now recovered than sent to landfills in the US, yet 65 percent of used printing and writing paper still ends up in the waste stream.  The pulp and paper industry ranks first in use of industrial process water, third in toxic chemical releases, and fourth in emissions of the air pollutants known to impair respiratory health.   Simple changes in our paper use and purchasing practices can help limit the depletion of forests and loss of habitat, reduce pollution and decrease the stress on our landfills.Purchasing products that are chlorine-free and include post-consumer fibers will reduce the strain on natural resources, promote resource conservation and waste reduction, and minimize toxic emissions.

Please choose environmentally-friendly papers for your school and office needs, carefully read the labels know the sourcing!