Written by: EDF Environmental Defense
Paper is an essential part of our work and lives--and we use a lot of it. The average American now uses nearly 700 pounds of paper a year--double the per-capita consumption in 1960--and further growth in consumption is projected both in the United States and worldwide.
All that paper has considerable impact on the environment. It uses energy, consumes natural resources, and creates air and water pollution and solid waste. To address these issues, Environmental Defense Fund - EDF assembled a task force of leaders in several paper-intensive industries. After more than two year's research, this Paper Task Force has issued a landmark two-volume report of its findings and recommendations. The market- based approach the group crafted for reducing the environmental impacts of paper use could serve as a model for all who buy and use paper.
Rather than considering only a few attributes of paper--its recycled content, for example, or how it is bleached--the task force examined the entire life cycle of paper, literally from the forest to the landfill. Environmental impacts occur at all stages of this life cycle: in getting fiber for paper from a forest or recycling program; in manufacturing that fiber into paper and paper products; and after these materials have been used, in disposing of them in landfills, incinerators, or through recycling.
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