During the 1980s, the Brundtland Commission disclosed a glaring reality to the world stage - modern paper production processes apply little forethought regarding the needs of future generations. The concept of sustainability was originally termed by the commission’s report, Our Common Future. By endeavoring to control resource depletion rates, the Brundtland Commission awakened the modern age of recycling.
Fast-forward three decades to the 21st century where recycling efforts remain strong. However, over these past 30 years, the paper industry has learned that recycling practices create unexpected, less-than-desirable byproducts. These unanticipated byproducts complicate the decision-making process regarding recycled paper.
Skilled business executives are tasked with the responsibility of reducing expenses in an effort to raise profits. Ecologically minded managers meet their business responsibilities by pairing sound financial analyses with an eco-friendly perspective. However, these two perspectives are often at odds with one another. As a result, managerial executives need to fully understand the paper’s end product purpose and its price, in addition to how the paper was sourced.
But, can a business executive be certain that a considerate, eco-friendly approach guarantees that recycled paper is the right choice for his company? Well, it’s complicated.
Research Regarding Recycled Paper
Environmentally conscious executives select paper products based on several factors. A partial list includes:
- The price
- The product quality
- The end use, and,
- Whether or not the paper contributes to healing Mother Earth
Consider the following facts revealed by a University of Southern Indiana study:
- Every American uses nearly 700 pounds of paper products annually.
- In total, Americans use 85 million tons of paper products annually - about 2,000,000,000 trees.
- About 20% of mail received is classified as junk mail; more than 40% ends up in landfills.
Many Americans who choose recycled paper have a desire to be eco-conscious. However, the benefits of identifying a sustainable paper source can far outweigh recycled paper.
Recycled Paper Concerns
Recycled paper has a limited shelf life because fibers begin to breakdown after 4 to 6 recycling sequences. End users have no way to detect the number of times a paper they’ve purchased has been recycled.
- Recycled paper fibers tend to produce a less stable and less absorbent product.
- The recycling process produces a less hygienic product than virgin-sourced paper.
- Recycled paper is generally manufactured by energy sourced from fossil fuels.
Virgin Paper Benefits
Besides its cleaner manufacturing process, virgin paper fibers offer stronger products. Some experts even assert that high quality fibers reduce waste, because consumers have no need to use extra paper to make up for a lower quality paper. The Forest Stewardship Council recognizes certified virgin paper as ecologically sound.
In the case of Double A, paper-trees are grown in the unused lands between rice paddies in Thailand. Local farmers care for the trees as they quickly mature in 3-5 years. In the meantime, they provide shade for the farmers and crops. The location near reservoirs also provides water for the trees without taking too much from the natural environment. In fact, every step of the growth considers the natural aspects and surroundings of the community. It is not long before the trees are harvested for their exceptional pulp and converted into the paper we all know and love.
With some diligent research, managers can build a deeper understanding as to how the right choice of paper can amplify marketing campaigns and build a positive reputation. The choice of paper should also comply with the needs of the company and the budget. Prudent managers select paper vendors like Double A who are able to deliver a sustainable, eco-friendly paper on a regular basis.