In Victoria BC in April, Camosun College students voted 93 percent in favour of a college-wide change to 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. The referendum asked whether students would pay a 30 cent per month levy to help cover the extra cost of the paper. The college administration has committed to pay the portion not covered by students, which includes all paper used by faculty and administration, and the switch will be made by September 1.
“The overwhelming support from both students and the administration, specifically the support of Vice-President Paul McGeachie, has made it clear that the outdated practice of destroying ecosystems for computer paper is simply unacceptable,” says Camosun student Kyle Artelle who led the initiative for recycled paper. “It also shows that when administrators are willing to work together with the students, great things can happen.”
Camosun used over 7 million sheets of paper last year.
—Camosun Students for Environmental Awareness, April 2006
Catalyst Paper’s Powell River mill plans another substantial reduction in odorous emissions from its huge primary clarifier for effluent treatment. Because the mill has downsized over the years, closing the kraft mill, the primary clarifier is too large for its load, so materials stay in the pond too long and rot. The mill will spend $5.5 million to convert a small old secondary clarifier.
—Powell River Peak, April 2006
The ING banking Group of the Netherlands has pulled out of an extremely controversial Metsa Botnia pulp mill planned for a river on the border between Argentina and Uruquay. ING was to have arranged $480 million US in loans for the mill. Metsa Botnia, one of the largest pulp companies in the world, had requested a further $200 million from the World Bank. The World Bank, via its private International Finance Corporation, submitted the Botnia mill and another mill also planned for the same river in Uruquay, to a cumulative environmental and social impact assessment. The Botnia mill had also requested “political risk insurance” from the World Bank.
Activists on both sides of the river had fought the mill for months, with bridge blockades halting trade for weeks. Both Argentina and Uruquay say they plan to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in the Hague over river treaty issues. Botnia had already started construction when Friends of the Earth International, Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA, from Argentina) and BankTrack told ING that they were going to inform the ING shareholders meeting on April 25, 2006 about the negative impacts of the project.
—Greenpeace International, April 2006
The long-troubled Port Alice sulphite mill on northern Vancouver Island officially reopened in early May, with $45 million in technology and energy saving upgrades. Neucel Specialty Cellulose negotiated a deal with the provincial government and arranged $100 million into a long-term investment plan based on the strong market demand for dissolving sulphite pulp. The mill will produce high-end, high purity cellulose for companies that make pharmaceuticals, food thickeners, fabrics, film, LCD screens and eyeglass lenses.
—Neucel Specialty Cellulose, May 2006
Almost 4.8 million tonnes of pulp and paper capacity was shut in 2005, affecting more than 40 mills or machines, according to an annual review published in March by Forestweb. Very little new capacity has been added. Of the almost 9.5 million tonnes of new pulp and paper capacity started up around the world during 2005, only about 8% was in North America.
March April 2006
A coalition of close to 50 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 21 countries launched their Common Vision for Transforming the European Paper Industry at Paper World, a major industry event, in January. The Common Vision, following on the development of the North American Common Vision (see MillWatch, April 2003) marks the first time that NGOs have joined forces across Europe and beyond on paper-related issues.
The NGOs’ long term vision is to see a future Europe that consumes 50% less paper than at present, produced by an industry that is less reliant on virgin tree fibres, makes maximal use of recycled materials, protects biodiversity, respects local people’s land rights, provides employment, and has social impacts that are beneficial, conflict-free and fair. The vision states: “We want to see all of Europe’s paper being made from responsibly- and sustainably-sourced fibres, using entirely renewable energy, with water that is as clean after paper production as before, producing zero waste and zero emissions.” It includes a 10 year-agenda which sets out the minimum requirements NGOs consider necessary to reduce negative environmental and social impacts around the world.
The NGOs are calling on the paper industry to rise up to the challenges set out in the vision document and to commit to urgent actions to reduce consumption and reliance on virgin fibre; ensure social responsibility; source fibre responsibly; and ensure clean production.
The shared vision allows NGOs to reinforce each other’s work while respecting individual NGO styles and approaches. The NGOs will work towards the joint goals in the vision in coming years.
The full vision text and list of signatories can be found on www.taigarescue.org/paper (link expired)
A January 2006 survey shows more than 80 percent of US consumers are willing to pay more for books and magazines printed on recycled paper. The majority of consumers may be willing to absorb the extra costs some publishers have encountered in investigating a switch to printing on recycled paper.
In a new study, 80 percent of consumers who had purchased a book or magazine in the past six months or who currently have a magazine subscription said they would be willing to pay more for a book or magazine printed on recycled paper.
The survey was sponsored by the Green Press Initiative (GPI), a nonprofit organization that helps book publishers improve their environmental impact, BookTech Magazine (a national business magazine for book publishing executives) and Co-Op America (a nonprofit organization that is helping magazine publishers improve their environmental impacts).
The survey was conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corp., an independent survey company. Survey calls were made Nov. 18-21 to a random sampling of 1,033 adults (515 men and 518 women, 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the United States). The margin of error at the 95-percent confidence level is plus or minus three percentage points.
—Co-op America, January 2006
Environmental Defense has released a new and improved Paper Calculator, the web-based tool that enables organizations to understand and improve their paper use. The Paper Calculator calculates the US average energy, wood use and environmental releases of different paper types across their full life cycle for each of thirteen major grades of paper and paperboard. The Paper Calculator allows the user to compare the environmental impacts of papers made with different levels of recycled content, compares individual papers, and generates easy-to-read reports to communicate the results .
In November a WWF investigation confirmed that a new pulp mill in Chile had devastated one of South America’s most biologically outstanding wetlands, decimating its famed population of black-necked swans, along with most other bird life. Contaminants from the plant killed an aquatic plant on which the birds fed. Seehttp://www.worldwildlife.org/toxics/pubs.cfm (link expired)
—World Wildlife Fund, November 2006
January February 2006
Announcement from Reach for Unbleached! and Paper Choice Environmental Papers
Reach for Unbleached! and Paper Choice have announced that the final Buying Club purchase of 100% post consumer recycled, processed chlorine free copy paper will take place in January 2006. The deadline for final buying club orders is Tuesday January 24 th for delivery first week of February. After February 1 st, Reach for Unbleached! advises that members can order directly from Paper Choice at 1 800 567 8055 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Former buying club members will receive an environmental discount.
Due to expected price increases in 2006, the buying club will no longer be cost effective. Reach for Unbleached! and Paper Choice comment that this curtain call is time for the buying club members to take a deep bow!
Market conditions have made the need for a buying club less significant, but in 1998 when the club began there were only two 100% recycled, chlorine free copy papers being produced in North America, and both were due to be cancelled. New Life DP, the paper provided by the Buying Club, and the only recycled chlorine free paper made in Canada, instead of being cancelled, has increased its recycled content to 100% and become a serious competitor with traditional copy paper in markets both here and in the U S.
In six years the buying club has provided approximately 280 tons of paper, saving thousands of trees, well over 1 million gallons of water and eliminating approximately 25 tons of air and water pollution. This example of what thoughtful, responsible consumers can accomplish is something all buying club participants can be proud of.
On November 23, I discovered that the BC Ministry of Environment was developing a code of practice to authorize the landspreading of pulp and paper mill wastes on public and private lands. I was outraged to find that the “Intentions Paper” states the government sought responses from the public, yet it was never directed to the public for response.
• Diluting a highly contaminated waste with elevated levels of heavy metals by introducing it into the environment can create significant contamination of soils and poisoning of wildlife. Sludge and fly-ash are contaminated with a number of chemicals, some of which are known to persist in the environment and are toxic, carcinogenic, or affect reproduction in a range of animals including humans.
• The public needs to know the ministry’s roles and responsibilities in the testing, monitoring, analysis of industrial wastes. The BC Ministry of Environment has been decimated to the point where it can no longer fulfill its mandate. Anyone who doesn’t know this is either profiting from this or not paying attention. What few safeguards and standards there are, are insufficient, unenforceable and after-the-fact.
• Contaminant limits set by government in industrial wastes are irrelevant without independent analysis, monitoring and enforcement capabilities.
• Our government should be responsible for prohibiting landspreading of these industrial wastes until thorough and independent testing proves that pulp mill sludge and fly ash are safe to release into the public environment.
• Anything put on the land will eventually end up in the water and in our bodies. It doesn’t take complicated science, just basic common sense, to know that dangerous chemicals will end up in our food chain. How will the waterways and aquifers be identified and monitored and who is responsible for this? Will there be a fence or some structure to prevent accidental trespass onto lands spread with industrial wastes? How will the contaminated wastes be transported to the landspread site? Will the trucks be covered or will the contents simply be sprinkled with water? The people who have lived near the Crofton mill for any length of time, know the government’s history of monitoring landfills; how can we hope that they will safely spread toxic wastes onto farm and forest lands?
Industry must be responsible for dealing with its wastes and consider it a cost of doing business, instead of pushing the cost onto our children. Contaminated industrial wastes (or “soil enhancers”, “organic fertilizers”, “bio-solids”) should be sent to a properly lined hazardous waste (or “special” waste) landfill on the polluting industry’s private land, away from any waterways, with leachate collection piped back into their facilities.