Board Converting News, May 10, 2021

Survey: Consumers Underestimate Power Of The Circular Economy As U.S. consumers become increasingly aware of the en- vironmental impacts of the products they use every day, there remains a wide gap between perception and real- ity when it comes to the sustainability of paper products. This is according to a new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by global research firm Toluna. The survey, “Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World,” sought to explore and better understand consum- er perceptions, behaviors and preferences related to the sustainability of paper products. “More and more consumers are factoring environmen- tal impacts into their purchasing decisions, but all too of- ten those decisions are based on pop culture myths and sensational, headline-driven journalism rather than fact,”

says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “As attention turns to developing a more sustainable, circular economy, the paper and paper-based packaging industry has a great, fact-based environmental story to tell: Paper is one the few products that can already claim to have a truly circular life cycle.” The Size Of U.S. Forests Paper use is often blamed for forest loss, and 60 per- cent of those surveyed believe U.S. forests are shrinking. The fact: U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the U.N. Food and Agricul- ture Organization’s 2020 Global Forest Resources As- sessment. That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Contrary to the popular belief that man- ufacturing and using paper destroys forests, the demand for sustainably sourced paper and paper-based packag- ing creates a powerful financial incentive for landowners not only to manage and harvest their land responsibly, but

also to keep it forested rather than convert- ing it to non-forest uses, one of the real doc-


umented causes of forest loss. Percentage Of Paper Recycled

Paper recycling in the United States is a hands down environmental success story. But according to the survey, only 11 percent of consumers believe the U.S. recycling rate exceeds 60 percent and nearly a quarter be- lieve it’s less that 20 percent. The fact: More than two-thirds of all paper and paper-based packaging in the U.S. is recycled, and more than 90 percent of corrugated cardboard boxes is recycled, according to the Ameri- can Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA). In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that paper is the most recycled material in the country, compared to plastics at 8.4 percent, glass at 26.6 percent and metals at 33.3 percent. Environmentally Friendly Communication As the pandemic forced meetings, events and day-to-day business to online commu- nication and consumers increasingly relied on the internet for news and information, 67 percent of those surveyed believe that elec- tronic communication is more environmental- ly friendly than paper-based communication. While consumers enjoy the convenience and the ability to work from home that electronic communication affords, they overlook the en- vironmental impact of digital communication. The facts: The EPA reports that the pulp and paper industry accounts for only 1.2 per- cent of U.S. industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and only 0.5 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions – which shouldn’t be sur- prising since two-thirds of the energy used

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May 10, 2021

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