Study Shows Vital Link Between Fresh and Recovered Paper Fiber

Study Shows Vital Link Between Fresh and Recovered Paper Fiber

Without the contribution of fresh fiber into the paper-making process, North American consumers would run out of paper in less than a year, according to the nonprofit Metafore. Its newly released research also finds that much more needs to be done to recover paper across North America.

These key findings and more on the "Paper Fiber Cycle"—the way paper is produced, used, discarded and reutilized in the U.S. and Canada—can be found at Metafore's research provides objective information to stimulate conversation with businesses and consumers along the paper supply chain and others about the opportunites that exist to more efficiently use recovered and fresh fiber across North America.

”We determined that using only recovered fiber in the tissue, copy paper, packaging, catalogs and other products we use every day is just not possible,” said David Ford, Metafore’s president and CEO. “Fresh fiber from well-managed forests is a vital component for maintaining the paper fiber cycle. The other key component of the paper cycle is a strong recovery network that values and collects discarded paper products specifically for reuse.”

The Paper Fiber Cycle Project was borne out of an initiative of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), which established the Corporate Forum on Paper and the Environment in 2004 to enhance communication and seek solutions to environmental and business issues affecting both buyers and suppliers of pulp and paper products. Metafore convenes and facilitates the Forum and its projects. Participants include a cross section of some of the largest buyers of pulp and paper in North America, and their FPAC member suppliers.

“Though P&G does not own or manage forests, we are a major purchaser of wood-derived fiber and because of this, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the world’s forest resources,” said Celeste Kuta, Manager of External Relations at Procter and Gamble. “P&G is committed to strategies that reduce demand on the world’s forest resources. We are pleased to be working with Metafore and the Corporate Forum on Paper and the Environment on initiatives that help maximize the use of both fresh and recovered fiber.”

“What we kept hearing from a variety of stakeholders, customers and environmental groups was 'use more recycled fiber’," said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of FPAC. "The Canadian forest products industry is committed to using fresh fiber from sustainably managed forests and all the useable recovered fiber it can get its hands on. To make significant gains in the latter area, we all need to do our part to increase the recovery of useable paper fiber.”

“Canada has continued to advance thinking and practice on the way forests are managed for the benefit of people and the environment,” said Ford. “Today’s consumers benefit from innovative products in the marketplace that use forest resources wisely.”

FPAC’s Lazar echoed those sentiments, adding his members look forward to continuing the dialogue with customers on ways to efficiently use forest resources. "FPAC members are committed to continual improvement which is why on-going dialogue and collaboration with multi-stakeholder groups such as the Corporate Forum on Paper and the Environment are so important. Projects such as Metafore’s paper fiber cycle research provides us with a deeper understanding of the complexity and balance required in the production of paper products and how to best maximize our natural resources.”

Key findings from the research include:

  • New fiber is a necessary input for maintaining the cycle and flow of paper products to people. Without it, paper supplies for magazines would disappear in a matter of weeks, while supply for newspapers and cardboard boxes would be gone in months.
  • The fiber cycle involves a complex web of elements, starting with good forest management.
  • More can and needs to be done to encourage further recovery of paper products.