US giant Staples plans move to recycled paper

In what could mark the beginning of a shift in how the paper industry does business, US office supply giant Staples, Inc. has committed to reducing its consumption of paper products made from endangered forests. The company’s new environmental paper procurement policy has won the endorsement of conservation groups that have spent years drawing attention to Staples’ impact on the world’s surviving virgin forests.





ENS reports that under the new policy, Staples, a US$11 billion retailer of office supplies and business services, pledged to phase out purchases of paper products from endangered forests, and achieve an average of 30 per cent post consumer recycled content across all paper products sold by the company.





Staples will set an industry standard through its voluntary move toward recycled and environmentally friendly paper purchases. Staples will also provide annual public reports on its progress toward reaching these goals, aggressively market and promote recycled paper products, and create an environmental affairs division headed by a senior executive reporting to the Staples CEO.





After Staples’ announcement today of its new environmental procurement policy, The Paper Campaign has called off its two year old campaign targeting the company.





For two years, Staples was the target of forest conservation activists. The grassroots campaign has included more than 600 demonstrations, almost 35 banners dropped on storefronts, 21 arrests in acts of civil disobedience, street theatre, more than 15,000 postcards, thousands of phone calls to the corporate headquarters and regional offices, hundreds of letters from concerned citizens, coverage in national and local media outlets, a shareholder’s resolution, and flying the CEO over clearcuts on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.





One means of reducing the price of recycled paper is to increase consumer demand, Vassalluzzo noted. Staples will have help in this task from conservation groups that already work to educate their members about the benefits of buying recycled products. The Paper Campaign has already received commitments from a number of companies, including market giants like Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft, to phase out their use of virgin paper, and phase in post consumer recycled products.





Staples already sells a variety of recycled paper products, including a tree free paper that contains 90 per cent post consumer content, and 10 per cent hemp fibres. Staples now offers about 1,000 recycled content products, from copy paper to corrugated storage boxes to remanufactured ink cartridges.





The company’s latest consumer effort is a week long ink jet cartridge recycling program to celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15. Customers who turn in empty ink jet cartridges at Staples stores through November 16 will be rewarded with a free ream of Staples brand 30 per cent recycled copy paper.





Conservation groups said the new Staples’ policy is likely to reduce the timbering pressures on southern US forests, the most biologically diverse forests in North America, which produce 25 per cent of the world’s paper products and two-thirds of the paper made in the US International Paper and Georgia Pacific, the two primary loggers of southern forests, are major suppliers to Staples.





Boreal forests like this one in Saskatchwan, Canada, could gain protection from Staples’ action to reduce its purchases of virgin paper products. Areas of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest also continue to be logged for the paper industry, and the Bush administration has proposed increasing logging in all national forests in the name of reducing the danger of wildfires.


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Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin Enews #42-2002
Autor: Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor: kit@residua.com

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