Board Converting News, July 26, 2021

How Do We End The Myths About Paper Use And Forests? BY KATHI ROWZIE

North American consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the products they buy and use,

and they want to do the right things. But when it comes to paper prod- ucts, the right things are often bur- ied under an avalanche of misinfor- mation and outright falsehoods that are made to sound plausible. Environmental advocacy is too often wrapped in a veneer of mis-

Consumers are presented with images of endangered forests in faraway places like the Amazon and Borneo, the implication being that these forests are the source of trees for paper products manufactured in the United States and

Kathi Rowzie

leading, science-sounding terminology, or worse, reduced to slogans like “paper equals deforestation” or “billions of trees are cut down every year to make paper packaging.”

Canada. The only beneficiaries of these bait- and-switch tactics are anti-paper activists and paper industry competitors, not consum- ers or the environment. Most consumers are fair-minded and jus- tifiably concerned about deforestation, so it’s easy to see why many fall for this type of misdirection. A recent Two Sides North America survey showed that 48 percent of Americans believe paper is bad for the envi- ronment, and 60 percent believe U.S. forests are shrinking. The facts tell a different story. But these misconceptions will continue to proliferate if we don’t actively debunk the myths about paper and the forest. Every person in the print, paper and pa- per-based packaging value chain can play an important part in this effort. Sustainable forestry is a comprehensive, science-based approach to protecting and conserving this vital natural resource. But you don’t need to be a scientist or have a special degree to participate in the conversation. All it takes is a basic understanding about the foundations of sustainable forestry and a few facts from credible sources to make the case. First, let’s lay a little groundwork. Most people think sustainable forestry simply means planting trees to replace those that are harvested. While that’s certainly a critical element, sustainable forestry is about so much more than that. The U.S. Forest Ser- vice defines it as meeting the forest resourc- es needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. Going far beyond just the physical act of reforestation, sustainable forestry is a land



July 26, 2021

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker