Environmental Responsibility

Private tree farmers grow more trees thanks to print

You may think that by forgoing printing, you are helping to save trees and making a better choice for the environment. But surprisingly, the paper requirements of the print industry are actually a catalyst for growing more trees. Here’s what you need to know:

Print Values Trees

In the United States, a full two-thirds of the fiber used to make paper comes from sources other than fresh-cut trees. Nearly all the remaining wood fiber used in paper production comes from “tree farms” – acres of trees grown as a renewable crop like broccoli or wheat. Print actually gives private landowners a financial incentive to grow trees rather than selling off their land for other uses such as development.1

Print Makes Use of “Waste”

One-third of the fiber used to make paper comes from wood chips and sawmill scraps; another third comes from recycled paper.2 In the United States, 115 paper mills used recovered fiber exclusively in 2010, and 289 more used some recovered material in their manufacturing process.3

Print is Recycled

In 2009, 63.4% of paper used in the United States was recycled. This number increases every year with more deliberate curbside and drop-off collection systems.4 Recycled paper is used to make everything from construction products to consumer goods. And approximately one third of the fiber in new paper comes from recycled paper.

Print is Responsible and Sustainable

In the U.S. the wood used to produce paper increasingly comes from certified forests.5 The Forest Steward Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) track fiber content from certified lands through production and manufacturing to the end product. In fact, there are 12 million more acres of forest in the U.S. today than there were 20 years ago.

1 Edward L. Glaeser, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, “A Road Map for Environmentalism,” Boston Globe, May 21, 2007.
2U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste.
3American Forest and Paper Association.
5International Paper, Down to Earth, “Is it Worth Printing?”


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