Green Living: Green Living Guides

Reforming the Paper Industry
The power of consumer choice can help transform an entire industry from environmental bad guy to sustainable business.

The pulp and paper industry may contribute to more global and local environmental problems than any other industry in the world. Paper manufacturers reach deep into species-rich forests for virgin timber, razing trees, polluting waterways and destroying precious wildlife habitat. Pulp and paper mills that use virgin timber are major generators of hazardous air pollutants, including dioxins and other cancer-causing chemicals. And the industry is the third largest industrial emitter of global warming pollution.

But the paper industry can change the way it works, especially if the market demands it. NRDC and other groups are working to transform the paper industry from an environmental liability into a sustainable business by moving market demand. We're getting consumers -- individuals and corporations -- to think about where their paper comes from, and to demand and use paper with higher recycled content. The combined effect of market pressure and public outcry over forest destruction has already persuaded paper giant Bowater to change its harmful practices in Southeastern forests -- a shift that could signal a sea change in the industry.

We all pay the price for the paper industry's environmentally destructive practices, and we can all become part of the solution. These pages provide detailed information for individuals and corporate consumers interested in changing their paper consumption habits, as well as detailed information on the paper industry and our plan to reform it.

Guide for Consumers
Use your wallet to change industry's bad practices.

Guide for Businesses
Smart paper is smart business. Find out how.

What You Should Know
* Americans use an average of 741 pounds of paper, per person, each year.

* Most of the world's paper supply comes from timber logged in regions with ecologically valuable, biologically diverse habitat.

* The virgin timber-based pulp and paper industry is the third greatest industrial emitter of global warming pollution. Its carbon dioxide emissions are projected to double by 2020. More on Global Warming

Learn More
The Paper Business, Present and Future

last revised 9.19.06

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