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When it comes to the paper industry and paper manufacturing impacting the environment, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. One of the biggest myths is how the paper industry is running at a rate that will eventually deplete all available trees—this simply isn’t true.

On average, the paper industry actually plants six trees for each one it cuts down. Not only do those in the paper industry care about our environment and the health of our forests and trees, but they also love their business—which can’t thrive without trees.

One thing that our forecasts often overlook is innovation. While the current outlook of our environment may seem grim, there’s always someone working to innovate a technology or practice and improve the life or usage of a certain product. And paper is by no means a stranger to innovation.

Here at Seaway Printing, we wanted to debunk a few myths and discuss all that the paper industry—and we as a company—are doing to help improve the environment and reduce the impact that paper manufacturing has on it.

Recycling

Recycled paper is used for a variety of things, including newspapers, packaging products, magazines, and even toilet paper. While the number of products that can be manufactured with recycled paper continues to rise, there will always be a need for virgin paper products to be used in conjunction with recycled paper. Even so, statistics show that using as much recycled paper and fiber as possible can reduce a paper mill’s energy consumption by up to 44 percent.

More is being done each day to improve recycling stock in the paper industry. Recycling stock reduces the number of trees and fibers needed to produce paper and paper products in general. And with the ability to recycle more stock, the paper industry thrives by saving money. This in itself is a win-win for both the industry and the environment, making it a highly tested and researched practice in the industry. 

Managing Paper Waste

As in every other manufacturing industry, there is waste to be dealt with. Reducing and controlling this waste is crucial to softening the paper industry’s impact on the environment. Paper waste can include wastewater treatment residuals, ink, boiler and furnace ash, pulp and paper, product rejects, and more.

To combat this, many paper mills are engaging in waste stream recycling and reuse initiatives. This includes composting materials, which greatly reduces pulp and paper waste. As these initiatives gain popularity, we can anticipate that waste control practices will only improve. The more that mills commit to recycling and waste reduction, the lower their expenses will be over time. It’s another win-win for the industry and the environment.

Adding Jobs to the Economy

As the unemployment rate continues to decline across the country, the paper industry is doing its part to employ our friends and families every day. There are a variety of available jobs in the paper industry, whether it be working in an office with shipping and client relationships or out in the forest cutting trees. More recycling and environmental efforts will bring more jobs, not eliminate them.

Final Thoughts

With so much buzz around the environmental impact of manufacturing, paper is not far from the conversations and action. There are currently many initiatives surrounding paper recycling and waste reduction, and innovative technologies are being introduced that improve the manufacturing process and environmental practices across the industry. Got questions? Contact us if you’d like to learn more about current environmentally conscious practices being used in the paper industry, or specifically what we do here at Seaway.