TABLE OF CONTENTS
LEAD STORY: State Dollars Impact Forests
FEATURE STORY: Recycling: From Olympic
Highs to Market Lows
a) Wood Products Industry Trends
b) Getting a Gold Star: Awards for Wood Reduction
c) Cornstalks: Out of the Fields, Into Paper
d) EPA: Producing Green Guides & Buying Hemp Paper
e) Drying Off Without Destroying Forests
f) Farming for Cars: Ag Fibers Find New Uses
g) Carpeting: The Greening of a Wood Alternative
CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Building Codes Survey
Office Green Guide
State Dollars Impact Forests
The Resource Conservation Alliance (RCA) and the Government
Purchasing Project (GPP) are surveying state governments to see if they
are buying "forest-friendly" products. Government's tremendous
purchasing power -- accounting for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. Gross
Domestic Product -- can be leveraged to reduce demand for wood, to stimulate
the market for products such as recycled paper and to consequently help
Nearly 100 procurement officials in all 50 states will
be surveyed. State government officials will be asked to identify any
state policies and practices that call for the procurement of environmentally
preferable wood products or wood alternatives in five product categories:
paper, packaging, furniture, pallets and "green" building. The
results of the survey will be published in a report, which will be released
to the public.
To see the full text of the news release (and to check
out The Government Purchasing Project's redesigned website), go to http://www.gpp.org/press_survey.html.
Purchasing officials knowledgeable about state policies
and practices for the five product categories can fill the survey out
on line at http://www.rca-info.org/survey/.
Recycling: From Olympic Highs to Market Lows
While many in America believe that recycling is an environmental
success story, in fact recycling is seriously struggling, reported the
Seattle Times on January 14, 2002 in "Recycling's Down in the Dumps."
According to the article, the markets for many recyclables are down with
the steady growth in recycling rates in the United States also slipping
back toward mid-1990s levels. Experts in the field site numerous reasons
for the slumping market -- people forgetting to or to lazy to recycle,
doubts over whether the effort to recycle is worth it and less or bad
publicity about recycling in the news.
Publicity for recycling may get a boost with Salt Lake
Olympics goal to achieve "zero waste" to landfills or incinerators.
Recycling groups, namely GrassRoots Recycling Network and California Resource
Recovery Association, provided detailed critiques to ensure that the recycling
systems and purchasing decisions planned would enable the Olympics to
succeed in this goal. All beverage containers and plates used in the public
areas will be recyclable or compostable. Even Coca Cola is responding
to years of protest introducing the first Coke bottles to be used in North
America made with some recycled content (10 percent). Materials produced
in large quantities such as corrugated cardboard and mixed paper will
be separated for recycling. The three new buildings constructed for the
Olympics use recycled content products. A process has been set up to recycle
construction and demolition waste such as cardboard and wood. The Olympics'
staff has been educated on the zero waste goal and volunteers have been
assigned to help educate the public during the events. [Source: "Going
for the Gold: GRRN Olympics Zero Waste Update" post on Office of
the Federal Environmental Executive List Serv and "Environmentalists
Hail New Olympics Recycling Plan," Waste News, January 18, 2002.]
The Seattle Times also reports that markets for recycled
products are in some instances expanding. Weyerhaeuser officials estimate
that recycled paper production will increase from 150 million tons in
2000 to 175 million tons in 2005 worldwide. Weyerhaeuser representatives
predict that nearly 50 percent of all paper will contain some recycled
fiber by 2005 (up from the current 44 percent).
Not all recycled paper markets are doing so well. Conservatree
recently announced a study to uncover the reasons behind the drop in market
demand for environmentally preferable office and printing papers. The
study is predicted to provide a "snapshot" of the industry and
its markets to reveal the basis of the obstacles slowing market development.
A wide variety of interest groups -- forestry companies, manufacturers,
distributors, printers, publishers, corporate and government purchasers,
recycling coordinators and environmental groups
-- will be contacted for the study which is being funded by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. For more information, see http://www.conservatree.com/learn/ListenSnapshot/Listen.shtml.
a) Wood Products Industry Trends
In 2001, forest product companies were faced with depressed demand and
weak prices, reported in About Pulp/Paper's "Weyerhaeuser Profit
Warning Seen as Trend" on January 3, 2002. Indeed, Weyerhaeuser,
one of the largest American paper and wood products manufacturers, said
that prices and order volumes for a number of product lines were significantly
lower than had been anticipated. Decreased demand -- the goal of forest
conservation activists -- for a number of wood products is projected to
continue through much of 2002, according to "U.S. Forest Products
Industry Shows Signs of Getting Out of the Woods in Late 2002," in
About Pulp/Paper's January 3, 2002 article. The other trend that is expected
to continue is the consolidation of wood product companies. The top five
global companies in the pulp, paper and timber products sectors are International
Paper, Georgia-Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, Kimberly-Clark and Stora Enso which
accounted for 30 percent of industry sales in 2000, according to About
Paper/Printing's analysis "What Will the Industry
Look Like in 2005?" In the past, this has spelled bad news for the
recycled paper market, as numerous recycled paper mills closed due to
b) Getting a Gold Star: Awards for
Institutions working to reduce their consumption of wood products are
encouraged to apply for awards as a means to help motivate employees and
to help set wood reduction goals. The GreenBusiness Letter January 2002
issue highlighted a number of corporate award programs, some with key
wood reduction interests in "National Corporate Environmental Awards
and Recognition Programs, 2002." The Design Resource Institute sponsors
the International Design Resource Awards which encourages products and
buildings to be made from post-consumer recycled and sustainably harvested
materials. For more information, see
http://www.designresource.org. The Green Globe Award sponsored by Flexible
Packaging Association highlights flexible packaging design which conserves
resources and prevents pollution. For more information, see http://www.flexpack.org/achievement_awards.htm.
The National Recycling Coalition's Annual Awards Program includes categories
such as Best
Business or Government Buy Recycled Program. For more information, see
c) Cornstalks: Out of the Fields, Into
The January 2002 issue of AURI Ag Innovation News reported that Mells
industries in Des Moines, Iowa is using cornstalk fiber for paper making
in "Pulp Reality." The paper is made from 50 percent cornstalk
plus recycled wood pulp, softwood pulp and cotton. The company plans to
build a plant to process 300,000 tons of cornstalks annually. For more
information on agricultural fibers as wood alternatives, see
d) EPA: Producing Green Guides &
Buying Hemp Paper
Federal government purchasing efforts continue to impact the United States'
wood consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued
a series of purchasing guides covering a variety of topics, including
a number that can impact wood consumption, according to EPP Update's Issue
10, January 2002 article, "EPP Supplements Its Suite of
Tools with Product-Specific Purchasing Guides." The guides cover
topics such as copiers (which can have paper saving options), food serviceware
(which can be made from agricultural fibers instead of virgin wood) and
meetings and conferences (which can be planned to minimize paper use)
and are available on-line at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/epp.
The newsletter also discussed the implementation of Executive Order 13148,
which mandates environmental management systems in federal agencies, and
how it will impact green purchasing efforts in "Environmental Management
Systems Drive Agencies to Meet EPP Goals." The issue itself is a
model of wood reduction efforts, printed on 25 percent industrial hemp/75
percent postconsumer recycled fiber. For more information on government
purchasing, see our Government Purchasing Project website at http://www.gpp.org/.
e) Drying Off Without Destroying Forests
A new electric hand dryer was recently introduced into the marketplace
which may have an impact on the consumption of paper towels. Excel Dryer,
Inc. is manufacturing the "XLerator" which greatly reduces the
energy consumption of standard electric hand dryers, as well as the time
it takes to dry hands, according to "XLerator -- The Electric Hand
Dryer Reinvented" in Environmental Building News, January 2002. The
dryer also consumes much less energy per use than virgin or even recycled
paper towels and of course eliminates the need for this additional paper
product. So architects and designers looking for the most environmentally
preferable option for public rest rooms have a new, forest-friendly option.
f) Farming for Cars: Ag Fibers Find
Researchers are increasingly studying ways that biobased materials can
be utilized in automobiles and building products, reported AgFiber Technology
Newsletter's January 18, 2002's article in "Biobased Composites and
Materials Research: Experiencing Accelerating Growth at Michigan State
University." The materials are attractive, because they are strong,
lightweight, affordable and renewable including fibers such as kenaf,
jute, flax, hemp, sisal, corn stalk or grass. (The development of these
fibers for both the auto and building products markets is crucial to slowing
demand for wood in these areas.)
g) Carpeting: The Greening of a Wood
Carpeting -- a potential wood floor alternative -- is becoming increasingly
environmentally friendly. A new coalition of industry, recycling and government
officials are striving to increase recycling of the nearly 5 billion pounds
of carpeting discarded annually from 4 percent to 40 percent, according
to Waste News' January 4, 2002 article "Carpet Coalition Sets Diversion
Goal of 40 Percent." The new organization, Carpet America Recovery
Effort (CARE), hopes to reach this goal by 2012.
CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS
Campus Ecology will be hosting
a "Buying for the Future" teach in along with a one-hour on-demand
course by Director of Procurement at Rutgers University, Kevin Lyons.
For more information, see http://www.nwf.org/campusecology/drivingsustainablemarkets.cfm.
Campus Ecology program has also redesigned its website at http://www.nwf.org/campusecology/index.cfm.
The Center for A New American Dream
and TerraChoice Environmental Services, Inc. are co-hosting a North American
green purchasing conference April 22 to 25, 2002, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
It will be held at the Sheraton Rittenhouse, one of the greenest hotels
in North America. For more information, see http://www.newdream.org/procure.
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Development Center for Appropriate
Technology (DCAT) issued the results of a survey assessing the regulatory
barriers to more sustainable buildings. The survey showed that building
codes frequently present barriers to the approval of green building alternatives.
the report at http://www.dcat.net/Codes/codes.html.
RCA's policy paper, How Building Codes Affect Sustainable Development
is also available on-line at
The Sustainable Products Purchasers Coalition
(SPPC) is working to create a standardized form on which manufacturers
can provide the life cycle data on their products. The coalition's primary
goal is to "aggregate its members' purchasing power to demonstrate
to manufacturers that there is a strong and vocal community of purchasers
that buy sustainable products and are seeking reliable, standardized environmental
data on sustainable products. The form will be available on the website
in the coming year.
The City of Portland Office of Sustainable
Development has produced a 40-page Green Office Guide. The guide's aim
is to help businesses reduce operating costs through resource efficiency
in the office environment. A copy of the report can be found under the
News" section of their website at http://www.sustainableportland.org.
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