Paper is a sustainability success story, AND good for people

Apr 29, 2016
Harman_Donna-WebBy Donna Harman
President & CEO

USA Today posted an op-ed, “Paper may be bad for trees, but it is good for people,” that made some good points about using paper, but also questioned its environmental impact.

Here’s AF&PA’s response:

Paper is a sustainability success story, AND good for people

It’s true, as a recent editorial stated, that numerous studies show people learn better when reading from paper documents and retain information better when taking notes with pen and paper. However the author also questions the environmental impact of using paper.

Paper is a sustainability success story; it’s the most-recycled material in the United States today. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more paper (by weight) is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than glass, plastic and aluminum combined.

The paper and paper-based packaging industry has set and met paper recovery goals established on a voluntary basis, and publicly reported on performance. The industry works with others in the private and public sectors to maximize paper recovery, which has contributed to our nearly doubled recovery rate in the last 20 years.

Market forces and voluntary efforts have achieved strong gains in paper recycling and are expected to continue to do so in the future. So, when the author prints out handouts for class, he is not only helping students increase their retention, he is increasing demand for renewable and recyclable materials.