ARE paper bags any better than plastic? 

Producers of paper are among the worst industrial contributors to air, water and land pollution AND they are among the largest industrial consumers of water, energy, and of course forest fiber.

In the next 20-30 years the paper demand is supposed to at least double due to the economic emergence of third world countries, and the ever-expanding worldwide population. There is no way to meet this demand without clear-cutting every tree in the entire world.

Why Not Use HEMP Instead of Clearcutting TREES?

70%……. of American natural forests have been destroyed for paper and wood products since 1937.  This is devastating.

14 million trees are cut down each year in America to produce paper grocery bags!

75-90% of allpaper in the world was made with hemp fiber until 1883.

Making Paper from Trees should be a joke.  Almost any plant in nature with a strong stalk is better suited to make paper than trees, especially hemp because it can be up to 85% cellulose (vs. trees are only 30% cellulose).

Since 1937 (when hemp was effectively outlawed) 70% of American natural forests have been destroyed. Today only 4% of America’s old-growth forest remains standing.

Hemp growing could completely negate the necessity to use wood at all because anything made from wood can be made from hemp.

 

HOW CAN WILD ANIMALS SURVIVE WITHOUT FORESTS?

They Can’t.  It has been estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to up to 50,000 species a year.

As more and more trees are removed from the forest, the natural habitat for animals, including endangered ones,  is lost or damaged. Many animals simplycannot live anywhere else besides their native forests.  Birds, reptiles and mammals all face habitat destruction due to deforestation and clear-cutting.  Orangutans are desperately losing their habitat and being killed off due to unsustainable palm oil harvesting for example.

 

WHY DO OUR TREES AND FORESTS MATTER?                                                  

Trees function to support our living earth.  

  • Enrich and hold soil
  • Absorb carbon dioxide
  • Release oxygen
  • Regulate the climate
  • Provide eco-systems for diverse animal and plant species
  • The oldest known tree species in the world is the bristlecone pine. The oldest tree of this kind has lived in the White Mountainsof California for over 5,000 years!

In order to survive, we need trees:

“The values and beliefs we cling to are driving our destructive path… You can’t change the rules of Nature. Our chemistry and biology dictate the way we have to live.” Dr. David Suzuki

CAN’T WE JUST PLANT TREE FARMS TO REPLACE FORESTS?

Plant, animal and ecosystem diversity is lost in a way that can never be recreated when we cut down our original forests and replace them with commercial tree farms that are treated with pesticides and are barren of wildlife.

Rather than truly restoring the native forest, many companies create what is known as monoculture plantations – farms with only one species of tree.  These tree farms are called ‘green deserts’ by their opponents, because these plantations consume vast quantities of water – causing rivers to dry up, lead to erosion, deterioration of water quality and loss of fishing and water resources to local communities.

The people living around these decimated forests also lose their homes, livelihood and/or natural landscape.

AREN’T WE SOLVING OUR PAPER BAG CONSUMPTION BY RECYCLING?

  • Only 10%-15% are recycled.
  • Most effective environmentally is to first Reduce our material consumption first, then Reusing those items and then Recycling.
  • Recycling paper bags still USE a lot of energy-–energy that comes from nonrenewable resources such as coal, whereas most of the energy to create virgin paper comes from burning otherwise unusable parts of the trees.
  • Recycling paper bags also USE a lot of chemicals  – involving compounds like hydrogen peroxide, sodium silicate, and sodium hydroxide which bleach and separate the pulp fibers.
  • Recycled paper often only contains a portion of recycled materials mixed with virgin paper.
  • Paper bags can only be recycled 4-5 times. Compare that with the alternative: Reusing a high quality sustainable cloth bag at least 8000 times in its lifetime.
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ has found that recycling reduces water pollution by 35% and air pollution by 74% in comparison with making virgin paper.
  • Just one company – “Waste Management” recycles enough paper every year to save 41 million trees.  Imagine how many trees could be saved by not using trees for paper or building!

 

I CAN’T STAND JUNK MAIL!

How much junk mail ends up in your mail box each week and what do you do with it?

If you’re like most of us you recycle or just throw away most of it without much more than a glance.

Most of us would agree that junk mail is a waste of resources. Here are some facts and figures to back this up:

  • The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. 44% goes to the landfill unopened.
  • 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
  • Junk mail inks have high concentrations of heavy metals, making the paper difficult to recycle.
  • Transporting junk mail costs $550 million a year.
  • Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings reside in mass data-collection networks. Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.(From 41pounds.org)

HOW DO I STOP JUNKMAIL?

  1. www.41pounds.org is an organization that can eliminate up to 80-95% of junk mailings for you by contacting dozens of direct marketers on your behalf.
  2. Register with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). DMA will list you in its database in the “Do Not Mail” category. Direct marketers are not required to check the database, but most companies that send large volumes of bulk mail do use the DMA service.
  3. Go to OptOutPreScreen.com, which can enable you to remove your name from lists that mortgage, credit card and insurance companies use to mail you offers and solicitations. It’s a centralized website run by the four major credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion.
  4. Contact companies that send your junk mail and asked to be removed.
  5. For help in reducing your junk mail, websites, such as unsubscribe.com and stopthejunkmail.com, provide further assistance or guidelines for reducing junk mail and other instructions.