logo Treecycle Recycled Paper
Login Register
... the other half of recycling
Keyword Search

Recycling Catalog Ordering Contact Us About Us

Credit Card Logos

 0 Items
 Total: $0.00

Green Power Oregon
Green Web Hosting!

  Paper Action Issues
  Here are some issues that could use your help. Although we try to concentrate on specific happenings with pulp and paper issues, we will also include one or two environmental issues of importance in the Northern Rockies Ecoregion.


Tell Staples to Stop destroying Endangered Forests

Every day we are losing more of our forests to the production of paper products. Paper production is one of the primary reasons our forests are being clear-cut at such a dizzying pace. And many of these products - office paper, post-it pads, paper towels, napkins, etc. - are used once and then thrown away.

The pulp and paper industry is the largest single industrial wood consumer in the US and in the world. Pulp mills in the United States consume more than 12,000 square miles of forest each year; almost half of all trees logged are turned into paper, and the percentage is increasing.

Currently, 90% of the world's paper is manufactured from wood pulp, but in the United States less than 1% of the total pulp produced is manufactured from nonwood, tree free alternatives. In the US, our per capita paper usage tips the scales at 735 pounds of paper per year.

More than half of our paper in the US comes from Southern forests, the region containing the greatest biodiversity in the continental US. Office paper also contains pulp made from old growth trees - such as majestic 1000-year-old Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest, or Canada's Great Bear Rainforest.

Paper comprises from 40 to 50 percent of the trash in typical landfills.


Staples is the largest and fastest growing office super store in the world, with 1,100 stores and locations in 48 states plus Washington, DC and the UK, Canada, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. Staples sale of paper is driving the destruction of our endangered forests worldwide including in US National Forests, the forests of the southeast, and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Staples also sells desks and other wood products made by Sauder Industries - a company that purchases wood coming directly from the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America.

Staples is opening new stores at an alarming rate: during 1999 Staples opened its 1000th store and in a single day opened 22 retail stores. As the number of Staples stores increases so does the number of forests destroyed.

Environmentalists have been trying to persuade Staples to stop selling old growth for over a year. Staples has refused.

It is critical that we demand that Staples that stop destroying forests. We are calling on Staples to:
-Immediately phase out of all wood and paper products made from old growth fiber.
-Immediately phase out of all wood and paper products made from fiber from US public lands.
-Set a target of 50% post consumer content for all paper products and begin an immediate phase out of all products that are 100% virgin wood fiber.
-Make available 100% post consumer paper and paper that is made from agricultural fiber in all stores or other points of sale.
-Educate all employees, customers, and suppliers on the benefits of recycled paper, recycling, the availability of alternative fibers, and the benefits of healthy forest resources.

We need to act now. Experts expect worldwide paper and paperboard consumption will increase 90% from 1993 levels by 2010.

- Organize an event in front of a local Staples to educate consumers and pressure the company. Contact us for more information.
- Alert the media
- Organize a letter writing campaign or a call/fax in day to Staples
- Write letters/op-eds or even articles for your local papers.
- Do outreach to local community organizations, religious organizations and community leaders. Ask them to get involved to save endangered forests.
- For more information contact the Native Forest Network at Native Forest Network


Get active or switch back to old catalogs to you-know-what!

If we want to save old growth timber and rain forests, using high post-consumer recycled paper is the simplest step we can take. Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief contends that, "the only way to ultimately keep the loggers out of the old growth is to reduce the demand for fiber. The single greatest (and easiest) way to do this is to increase wastepaper utilization."

Fort James, the maker of the Envision toilet tissue discontinued their unbleached, high post-consumer t.p. and gutted the pcw content of the rest of the line. Georgia Pacific, the mega-corporation that bought Wisconsin Tissue (and is in the process of buying Fort James), terminated the Second Nature Plus line. Consumer access to high-post-consumer tissue products has been severely diminished by these actions. This is bad both from a recycling perspective as well as from the perspective of clean water.

If you go to the Fort James website about tissue products ( they tell you how committed they are to the environment: �Fort James' commitment to responsible stewardship of the environment is an integral part of its strategy for growth and success. We take pride in aggressive internal environmental standards ...� Yet they are willing to sacrifice the most environmentally sound products first. It is almost humorous that it is legal for them to still say it.

Part of the blame rests with us, the consumer. People and businesses do have to buy high post-consumer paper to keep them going. This has happened before with other products. Sales drop and the companies quit making them. Recycling is not so popular any more, for some unknown reason. Thus we see a drop in the use of good recycled paper products.


(1) Try to convince the company to bring back the Envision unbleached, high post-consumer t.p. products it is vital that companies hear from the consumer. The unbleached Envision products had a minimum 95% pcw and no bleaching; the standard by which environmentally sound tissue products were measured. Call Fort James at 800-558-7325 and ask them to bring back the unbleached, high post-consumer t.p.

(2) Be aware that there are several tissue lines that have only 10% post-consumer content and green labels. Never buy a toilet tissue with less than a minimum of 20-25% pcw, or a towel with less than 40-45% pcw. Ask stores to quit carrying the bad products.

It is important to remember that, despite what someone will tell you when you call, it is only the post-consumer waste that makes a difference in the recycling issue. The claim that it is all 100% recycled means nothing. Many tissue products historically have been made from mill wastes and converter scraps from other mills. To reduce the waste stream, it needs to be post-consumer. For more information on these definitions and issues, see the Treecycle website at



Recycled paper has suffered a number of setbacks in the last few years that recently peaked with the closure of a state of the art recycling and deinking facility which made the Unity and Incentive 100 grades of paper.

If we want to save old growth timber and rain forests, using high post-consumer recycled paper is the simplest step we can take. Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief contends that, "the only way to ultimately keep the loggers out of the old growth is to reduce the demand for fiber. The single greatest (and easiest) way to do this is to increase wastepaper utilization."


Yes, recycling is market driven. Recyclers have been hit by falling prices and weak demand for recycled paper. A number of recycled paper mills have closed.

Keating notes that "The trend exemplified by" the elimination of Unity and slipping of the use of recycled paper is partially the fault of the environmental community "that has allowed itself to back away from the pushing of the use of recycled paper, preferring to continually move on." The use of wastepaper is slipping back "towards the old numbers" before the peak of recycled waste use of recent years. Hammermill Vice President Rick Smith said of the Unity elimination, "the market never met price nor volume expectations." The press release said, "there just wasn't the demand" for Unity paper.

Many environmentally-oriented people refuse to pay the extra that real recycled paper costs over virgin pulp paper. They may use recycled stationery but their copy paper is virgin bought from a store owned by a huge company (Boise Cascade, Staples, Office Depot, etc.) - which in turn supports multi-national timber companies and chlorine-gas bleaching. They are not alone. It can be a difficult decision, but we must push for a more environmentally benign walk to keep up with the talk. If good recycled paper is going to stay, we must buy it.

The paper market is a tough market where the Big Boys have created a feeding frenzy for low cost consumption. Just a few companies control the market, and it is standard procedure to coerce mills into cheaper paper which means cheap fiber (trees) and low cost processing (chlorine). One converting mill dropped some environmentally benign papers that did not sell well to streamline economically so they could compete against those Big Boys. Actual consumer practices dictate what the mills and converters and resellers do most of the time.


Four recycling mills out of seven that have been built since 1994 have shut down. A dozen mills are operating at partial capacity. Add to this International Paper's recent elimination of production of Hammermill Unity and Springhill Incentive 100 and mothballing of the Pennsylvania recycling/deinking facility.

It is a big blow to those who support recycling as the Unity and Incentive 100 (Unity for simplicity) papers are 100% deinked fiber and contain at least 50% post-consumer material. Another advantage Unity brought to the consumer was that it was not bleached and processed without any chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Over a million trees a year will fall to replace Unity, a paper produced at a high volume. Many users will replace it with bleached paper that is 70-80% dead trees, as the environmental alternatives appear too costly.

It is a huge loss for both the recycling and toxic issues campaigns, not to mention the cutting of timber. Unity failed due to a lack of demand for the most part - by consumers failing to buy. The single greatest offset of the use of virgin wood fiber (and thus the cutting of trees) is the use of waste paper.


The chlorine issue is important, but it has spawned a new problem; that the increasingly popular TCF papers cannot be made from recycled material but must come from virgin fiber sources which usually means dead trees.

Totally chlorine free (TCF) and process chlorine free (PCF) are the latest in confusing buzzwords. Many people who use them don't know exactly what they mean or just what the ramifications are. (Remember, ECF - elementally chlorine free - is still chlorine)

TCF stands to be simply another environmental headache cloaked in green IF we don't combine it with the use of post-consumer recycled waste paper. Environmental solutions are holistic, not simplistic. It is a step backwards to abandon recycling and go back to cutting trees for paper just so we can have TCF. That appears to be what is happening and will continue to happen. Alternative intentional fibers are just too expensive to step into the real world of commodity paper. Waste paper and agricultural waste are less costly.

The fiber source for paper which offers the least chemical intensive production scenario is falling to the wayside due to other popular movements. I speak of turning garbage into paper - post-consumer waste recycled. Environmentally sound PCF recycled papers are an important part of the chlorine solution. Paper recycling will collapse if we all used TCF paper made from dead trees or intentional fiber crops. Process chlorine free is the alternative that we promote.

With all the work folks have been doing around the country on the chlorine issue, the loss of Unity is a big blow - the shutdown of a chlorine free operation. A real step backwards.

The Environmental Protection Agency is establishing new baseline bleaching technologies affecting pulp and paper mills in the U.S. The EPA supports the substituting chlorine dioxide for chlorine gas - still a chlorine derivative.

We must hold the pulp and paper industry accountable for continuing to poison ecosystems and our food chain with chlorinated organic compounds. The consumer marketplace holds much of the answer. ALL paper should be processed without chlorine, but it is a mistake to give up on PCF recycled paper simply because it is not TCF. Recycling mills are the most likely to offer alternatives to chlorine. Unity was produced in a chlorine free process. In the early '90's, a group of people opened a mothballed mill to run as a chlorine free recycled mill. It failed due to a lack of support - by consumers failing to buy it.


Fifty million tons of paper still end up in the landfills each year. The whole enchilada is about saving threatened resources. Per capita consumption of paper in this country doubled from about 1970 to 1990. Paper is the largest single use of trees that are harvested worldwide, and the use is growing. This means we have no choice but to reduce consumption as a first step.

If we want to save old growth and rain forests, high post-consumer recycled paper is a simple step. Tim Keating (Rainforest Relief) sums it up, "the only way to ultimately keep the loggers out of the old growth is to reduce the demand for fiber." Phil Knight of the Native Forest Network - Yellowstone adds, "This is definitely one place where the direct action of individuals - to purchase or not to purchase post-consumer recycled paper - does have an impact."

Using recycled paper should not be just another passing fad. If we want recycling to be truly successful, we must buy and use the best recycled paper we can!


Urge conservation groups to: a) promote reduction of consumption, and b) support and promote the use of recycled paper as a continuing theme.

As an individual: a) buy and use recycled paper processed without chlorine, and b) talk to your employer about beginning to use some recycled paper in your workplace.

Thanks for your effort!

For more information on this issue, contact Treecycle.


A recent news article in USA Today points out that one problematic culprit in many recycling mill's decline has been what are called "stickies" and the unexpected technical difficulties in removing self-sticking materials from office waste paper. Stickies are little items we all use like self adhesive postage stamps, labels, post-it notes and tape.

When stickies are recycled along with office paper and junk mail, they gum up machines. And worse, stickies weaken the paper, causing tears in the giant manufactured rolls. Recycled paper has suffered a number of setbacks in the last few years including a number of mill closures that recently peaked with the closure of a state of the art recycling and deinking facility in Pennsylvania. Any steps that can be taken to help the recycling solution is something that consumers should take seriously.

Water activated adhesives are not a serious problem, so we all should use stamps and envelopes you have to lick or moisten and use as few self-sticking labels and post-it notes as possible. At the other end, remove as many labels, tapes, post-its, etc., as possible from your recyclables.