Life Cycle Study, How Our Footprint Compares
Expanded Comparative Life Cycle Study of Wheat Straw Paper
Published by Offsetters October 29, 2014
Working again with Offsetters this year, Prairie Paper commissioned the second life cycle study to dig even deeper into the life cycle environmental impacts of Prairie Paper’s Step Forward Paper (SFP), the first widely available wheat straw paper in North America.
Offsetters, one of North America’s leading carbon management solutions provider, expanded its 2012 landmark life cycle comparison to include 15 criteria (compared to the original seven criteria two years ago) in order to accurately review reviewed Prairie Paper’s Step Forward Paper.
This study confirms the importance of recycling fibres that enter the paper system. Recycling paper produces significant environmental benefits, but the paper system requires inputs of new (virgin) fibres in order to function, since recycled fibres cannot be used indefinitely. This study demonstrates that the greatest environmental benefits are achieved when the new fibre input is sourced from agricultural residues, and paper fibres (from any source) are recycled to the maximum extent possible.
1. SFP80 has less than half of the impacts of 100% virgin tree-based paper, and is the most sustainable of the paper types studied that include virgin content.
2. Recycling leads to significant reductions in the life cycle impacts of the paper system.
3. Using SFP80, and subsequently recycling it, leads to the greatest improvements in the environmental performance of the paper systems studied.
4. Fibre from agricultural by-products has significantly better environmental performance than the purpose-grown crop studied.
Currently, agrifibre-based papers represent a small percentage of the retail copy paper market; however, from this analysis, it can be concluded that the greatest benefit to improve the overall paper system would not only be to continue or increase recycling rates, but also to increase the displacement of virgin tree sourced fibre into the system with lower impact agricultural by-product fibres.
Why Tree-Free Paper?
Why Tree Free Paper?
- Reduce the cutting of trees
- Support the farmers
- Does not affect food supply
- Harvests every year on the same land
- Easier to pulp and bleach
- Uses less water and energy
- Lower eco-footprint
CO2 Impacts of Paper
Sources for Eco Claims
* On the ream wrapper : The number trees saved uses the paper calculator based on a production of 200,000 mt/year. We calculated that 1 ream saves 5% of tree. So 20 reams saves 1 tree.
* On the ream wrapper : For the equivalent emissions from cars on Virgin the numbers are from the paper calculator and for Step Forward Paper™, the number of cars is calculated from the fact that 1 car emits 5.508t CO2 e/year (source: Paper calculator), so 32,385 cars/yr emits ghg equivalent to step forward ghg. The calculations show that there should be 227 reams equivalent to 1 car Co2 emission/month.
**Paper Calculator : (http://calculator.environmentalpaper.org/home)
**We have commissioned a Life Cycle Study (LCS) on Step Forward Paper™ to determine its impact and footprint. Click here for detailed results of this study.
“Think before you print!”
Ask yourself: Do I really need to print this email, Webpage, document etc?
If you are going to print, here are some tips printing responsibly:
- Use Step Forward Paper™ 80% tree-free paper or choose a 100% recycled paper
- Always use double-sided printing
- Reduce your margins and font size when possible
- Use Print Preview and only print the pages you need
- If you need to print PowerPoint slides, consolidate your project to one page. Under Print Settings, you can change the print layout to “Handouts” and designate the number of slides – up to 9 – you want to appear on each page.
- Share documents online whenever possible. Use online sharing tools like Google Drive or DropBox or Yousendit to minimize unnecessary paper use.
- Check the printer status before trying to print more than once
- Use tools like GreenPrint to measure and reduce printing in your office and home.
Use the “green” file format .WWF to create non-printable PDF’s. The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. Save as .WWF, save a tree. It’s a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. Download the WWF software.
When you are done with the paper re-use it as wrapping or stuffing material or recycle it in the recycle bin.
Printing responsibly reduces the pressure to log intact and endangered forests for paper, reduces carbon emissions, water and chemical usage and will save you money. So please print responsibly.
We are using more paper than ever before.
- The total value of annual forest products sold world wide are $186 billion (Based on reports by the American Forest and Paper Association and the Global Trade Information Service (GTIS))
- Each year 3 billion to 6 billion trees are logged for paper and other uses.
Source: Rainforest Action Network
- 50% of the trees that are cut down go to making paper. Worldwide we consume over 400 million metric tonnes of paper each year and that equates to over 3 billion trees harvested annually.
- Office copy paper use approximately 10,000 sheets / year = 40 sheets / day = 4 Million Metric Tonnes/year
The recently published 2011 installment highlights key trends in the industry over the past decade: Source: State of the Paper Industry 2011, Environmental Paper Network and Kimberley-Clark www.kimberly-clark.com
- Total global consumption of paper is still rising, reaching 371 million tonnes in 2009;
- Almost half of the Earth’s original forest cover is gone, much of it removed in just the last three decades;
- More than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly on natural forests for their livelihood, food, clothing and shelter;
- North Americans consume almost 30 times more paper per capita than the average person in Africa and 6 times more than the average person in Asia. In 2009, total paper consumption in China eclipsed total North American consumption for the first time.
- According to industry figures, recovery of paper for recycling continues to grow in North America, diverting it from the high environmental cost of its disposal in landfills. The United States paper recovery rate rose from 46% in 2000 to a record high 63.4% in 2009. In Canada the paper recovery rate in 2009 was 66%.
- Exports of recovered fiber from the United States to Asia have grown rapidly representing a nearly three-fold increase since 2002. These exports are primarily destined for China. In 2009, approximately 36% of fiber recovered in the United States was exported to Asia.
Per the Pulp and Paper Products Council, the size of the printing and writing papers market in 2011 in North America was 24.2M tons. While demand for paper has decreased in some sectors, the size of the 8.5” x 11” market in North America has increased significantly between 1993 and 2009 as noted by the following sectors:
|In ’000’s MT1||1993||2009|
|Office Reprographics (End use – USA)||3,547||4,455|
|Business – Uncoated Free sheet (North America)||4,105||4,922|
The carbon footprint associated with air travel by Prairie Paper staff is offset by Offsetters, Canada’s leading provider of carbon-management solutions.
Check out our eco-calculator by clicking here