How much does drawing paper cost
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We use it for daily hygiene; we learn to write on it and have been using it for centuries to spread culture, knowledge and information; We use it to decorate living spaces, pack food and drinks in it, it is even used for textiles - and we throw it away several times a day: paper.
With such a wide range of possible uses, it is no surprise that paper also has a downside! Its high consumption, especially in industrialized countries, causes consequential damage worldwide.
Top priority due to environmental pollution:
Minimize fiber consumption
Throughout the world, paper production is increasingly damaging or completely destroying forests, polluting other ecosystems on a large scale, reducing biodiversity and violating human rights. The main cause is that more paper is used than can be produced in a socially and ecologically sustainable way - that is the paper crisis. It doesn't have to be like this: you could reduce waste just by being more conscious. And as soon as we use more recycled paper as a first concrete step, less new raw material has to be introduced into the paper cycle. Recycled paper is the simplest answer to the paper crisis.
There are many reasons
Use recycled paper
and often no one not to do it -
except maybe thoughtlessness.
Anyone who uses paper should know what paper is made of, where the paper raw material cellulose comes from and under what conditions this cellulose is produced.
If someone continues to waste paper or does NOT use recycled paper, he is either ignoring the arguments and being ignorant, or has an area of application where it is imperative to use virgin fiber paper.
Consumption growth in Germany from 1950 to 2008
Manufacture of paper
Resource-intensive, polluting and energy-consuming ...
Anyone who uses a lot of paper needs a lot of wood. Paper consists largely of cellulose, which today is mainly obtained from wood. Cellulose is the most common organic compound in the world, from which almost all plant cell walls are made. Straw and hemp were also popular raw materials for paper production in the past. Nevertheless, the very complex production of cellulose from wood has been able to establish itself: by steaming, soaking and adding chemicals, the fibers of the trees chopped into wood chips are loosened, longer cooking and further chemical treatments then separate the cellulose from unwanted wood components before the pulp with even more chemicals is bleached, dehydrated and then processed into white fresh fiber paper.
Several methods are suitable for bleaching. In the past, chlorine was preferred for this purpose, but this is associated with considerable pollution of the wastewater. Alternative processes now rely either on the less dangerous chlorine dioxide or, if you want to produce completely chlorine-free bleached paper, on oxygen, ozone, hydrogen peroxide or peroxyacetic acid.
The preferred woods for papermaking are softwoods such as spruce, pine and larch, as the longer fibers of the softwoods give the paper greater strength than hardwoods. Nevertheless, the latter are also used for paper production, in particular eucalyptus, acacia, poplar and birch. The production of paper from wood is energy-intensive, as well as water and raw material-intensive. A standard package of copier paper (500 A4 sheets, 2.3 kg) requires 7.5 kilograms of wood, 130 liters of water and 26.8 kilowatt hours of energy.
... or, alternatively, resource-saving
However, paper can also be produced in a manufacturing process that requires far less wood, water and energy and thus protects the forest, the environment and resources. Instead of wood, waste paper is used as a raw material and the effort for pulp production is saved. In order to detach the individual fibers from the waste paper used, such as newspapers, magazines, packaging, etc., a paper pulp is mixed, from which the ink residues are removed by de-inking.
After the cleaning process, new paper is made from the pulp. Only 2.8 kilograms of waste paper, 51 liters of water and 10.5 kilowatt hours of energy are then required for the aforementioned packet of copy paper. In addition, less chemicals have to be used, which leads to less pollution of the wastewater. The ecological balance of recycled paper is therefore significantly better than that of fresh fiber paper.
Global paper consumption
In 2008, a total of 22.85 million tons of paper, cardboard and cardboard were produced in Germany; global paper production is around 380 million tons.
Around one million tons of paper are used around the world every day. However, this consumption is distributed very unevenly across the world. So there are countries that clearly above the average global per capita consumption of 58 kilograms per year. The economic crisis has left its mark here too: paper consumption in the USA, for example, fell from 300 kg (2005) to 266 in 2008.
Comparison of different consumption per capita in different countries.
Finland leads the consumption list with over 300 kg per capita, the USA weighs 266 kg, the Germans bring it to 251 kg and the Swiss, on the other hand, “only” 219 kg. Even South Africa is still above average with around 70 kg, while Thailand with 50 kg and Brazil with 39 kg are already below. The Indonesians only consume 20 kg and in Cameroon (3 kg), Cambodia, Uganda (each 2 kg) and many other developing countries, paper consumption is negligible.
These enormous differences cannot be explained by the argument that the literacy rate is much higher in industrialized countries and that more paper is therefore required for newspapers and books. While the literacy rate in Germany is 99 percent, it is at a similarly high level in Vietnam at 93 percent. Nevertheless, the average German, with 251 kilograms, 'uses' 210 kilograms of paper more per year than the Vietnamese, who only weighs a good 35 kg.
The increased consumption in the industrialized countries is mainly explained by packaging materials and unwanted advertising mail that ends up in letterboxes every day and is enclosed in newspapers. Of the 251 kilograms of paper per capita in Germany, around 40 percent is used for packaging and around 47 percent for graphic papers, such as those used for magazines and advertising mail. And as everywhere, the majority of the brochures end up in the trash unseen.
From the tree to the consumer
What is happening on the paper market is confusing. Some of the paper we produce is exported and, on the other hand, Germany imports large quantities of paper and pulp for production and its own consumption. With around 12 million tons of paper and 4 million tons of pulp, Germany is the second largest importer after the United States.
Around 40 percent of the imported paper and pulp come from Finland and Sweden. This is followed by Canada with just under 18 and Brazil with around 8 percent. Curiously, the Netherlands also appears in the import statistics, although no paper is produced in the country. Pulp arriving in Rotterdam from Brazil and Indonesia is recorded as a Dutch import, which is declared as Dutch pulp when it is resold in Europe. The exact origin of this pulp can therefore hardly be traced back.
54 percent of the wood for global paper production comes from commercial forests. 17 percent of the wood required is felled in previously untouched natural forests, i.e. primeval forests. The remaining 29 percent come from plantations.
Paper production always creates
more 'green deserts' and overexploitation
The industry has met the growing demand for wood as a raw material for paper in recent years, primarily through the massive expansion of plantation area. Where previously species-rich ecosystems often supported subsistence farming, eucalyptus or acacia trees are now lined up. In Brazil, tens of thousands of hectares of eucalyptus plantations have emerged over the past 30 years, especially in the eastern states. Because of their monotony and because there is hardly any life left in them, they are called “green deserts” by the population. Eucalyptus trees have a very high water requirement, which leads to the lowering of the water table and the drying out of entire regions. The water and soil are also damaged by the use of fertilizers and pesticides to keep pests away from the trees that have been planted.
And since eucalyptus is not native to Brazil, the flora and fauna are also under pressure. The eucalyptus plantations do not offer them the habitat they are used to. The result is a dramatic decline in biodiversity.
It is similar in Indonesia, where in Sumatra alone over 800,000 hectares of natural forest fell victim to paper and pulp production in the 1990s. A mixture of a lack of political control, a lack of law enforcement, corruption and unscrupulousness in politics, as well as the wood and paper industry, made Indonesia one of the largest paper and pulp producers in the world within a few years. Not only did untouched rainforests have to give way to plantations, even in protected national parks, wood is still illegally felled for paper production.
The Indonesian paper manufacturer APP (Asia Pulp and Paper) produces over two million tons of pulp annually in just two plants on Sumatra. The raw material for this amount of pulp cannot be obtained from plantations, so it is estimated that around 70 percent of the wood required comes directly from the country's natural forests. In the provinces of Riau and Jambi, where APP's two plants are located, the company cleared around 110,000 hectares of rainforest in 2005.
Effects of paper production
to the people
Often enough, small farmers and indigenous people have to give way to the new plantations - they are also driven from their land, which has occasionally been inhabited and cultivated for generations. Those affected are forced to look for a new piece of land, they migrate to the cities or try to survive near the plantation. But that is rarely possible. The water is contaminated by pesticides, the soil itself is sterile and work in the plantations and pulp production is rare - especially since the few jobs are more likely to be given to external specialists.
The paper manufacturer Mondi only employs 0.7 people per 100 hectares in South Africa - that includes the office workers and workers in the pulp mill. Accordingly, hardly any workers are needed on the plantation areas. Contrary to the announcements of the paper producers and plantation operators, the local population is becoming impoverished.
Not only the plantations threaten the local people, but also the paper and pulp mills. A lack of environmental standards or lax controls induce factories to discharge wastewater into rivers. The residents in the immediate vicinity of the factories are increasingly suffering from skin and respiratory diseases.
Occasionally those affected fight back against the corporations, their false promises and illegal land grabbing. In the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, the Tupinikim and Guarani are fighting against the Aracruz group (which has recently been renamed Fibria), which has illegally planted eucalyptus on over 11,000 hectares of indigenous land. After a long legal battle, the group finally had to return over 10,000 hectares of land.
After a court ruling, the Veracel company had to replace 96,000 hectares of illegally planted eucalyptus plantation with natural forest within a year and pay a fine of millions for the deforestation of natural forests.
In Indonesia, despite campaigns and protests by environmental and human rights organizations and the affected population, two of the largest loggers in Sumatra, the pulp and paper giants APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd.) and APP (Asia Pulp and Paper ), from the further deforestation of the natural forests, the creation of huge plantations and the resolution of land rights conflicts.
Problems not only in
The destruction of forests for paper production and the disregard of minority rights is not only a problem in developing and emerging countries. Canada is cutting down its temperate rainforest on a large scale and is granting - illegally - concessions on Indian land to timber companies. In Canada, too, paper mills pollute the waters and endanger the livelihoods of the “First Nations”.
Of particular concern in Canada is the fate of salmon. The silting up of the rivers due to deforestation destroys the salmon's breeding grounds. Hundreds of Canada's salmon stocks are already extinct or severely threatened. This threat to salmon has a direct negative impact on the people and animals of the region, such as bears, wolves, birds, for whom the salmon is one of the most important sources of food - and, as we have recently known, on the forest itself. Because of bears and birds in Salmon residues dragged through the forests have in the past made a not inconsiderable contribution to the fertilization of the forests.
Canada is one of the largest pulp suppliers in Germany. Around 90 percent of logging in Canada takes place in natural forests. Despite intensive efforts by environmental organizations and First Nations, it has not yet been possible to completely protect primeval forests from logging - only just under half are exempt from logging.
What can and should you
Wasting paper usually costs (rain) forest. For the production of paper, forests are still being destroyed, new monoculture plantations established and people displaced. Biodiversity suffers, water is polluted and an unnecessarily large amount of energy is consumed. Even climate change is exacerbated as a result. Each individual can contribute to the relief and become a (rain-) forest-friendly consumer. The main answer to the paper crisis is: consume less and at the same time make sure that as little fresh fiber as possible be consumed. Anyone can practice sustainability on paper and help implement it. Specifically, you should
- Prefer recycled paper (pay attention to the Blue Angel)
- save paper in the office and workplace
- Scour your own household for paper-saving potential and optimize it accordingly
- Put a 'no advertising' sticker on the mailbox
- inform the social environment and encourage them to save paper
- Personal and professional Significantly reduce paper consumption and use recycled paper where possible.
- Actively involve others, i.e. point out the paper crisis in your personal and professional environment and encourage you to participate.
- Questioning and applying pressure. Ask about recycled paper products and complain to advertising companies.
and seen something more general or global:
Links to further information about paper & forest / environmental protection
In addition, there are many actions that strengthen our work. If you are serious about forest and climate protection, you should not hesitate - if you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to ask us.
- Become a supporting member of Pro REGENWALD
- encourage others to participate
- volunteer yourself
- Participate in email campaigns
- Sending protest postcards
- Help organize days and weeks of action
- Rent and organize exhibitions
- Offer or organize lectures for us
- Attending seminars, further training
- Set up your own action group and get started
- Give away share certificates for tree planting projects
- leave something to favor pro RAINFOREST in a legacy
- Propagate paper saving
- To plant trees
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