Carbon footprint

What is the carbon footprint?

The carbon footprint was born as a measure to quantify and generate an indicator of the impact that an activity or process has on climate change, beyond the large emitters.

The carbon footprint is defined as the set of greenhouse gas emissions produced, directly or indirectly, by people, organizations, products, events or geographic regions, in terms of CO₂ equivalents, and serves as a useful management tool to understand the behaviors or actions that are contributing to increasing our emissions, how we can improve them and make more efficient use of resources.

To learn a little more about this term, you can visit their website CARBON FOOTPRINT

Paper pollution

The pulp and paper industry ranks fifth in the industrial sector in global energy consumption, and uses more water per ton produced than any other industry. Also, the pulp and paper industry is among the largest generators of air and water pollutants.

About 40% of all wood carved for industrial uses in the world goes to the production of paper.

In many places on the planet, forests and other natural ecosystems have been and are still being replaced by fast-growing tree plantations whose management involves the massive use of herbicides and toxic chemical fertilizers. .

One of the chemicals used to bleach paper is chlorine, known as a skin irritant and toxic to the aquatic environment. It is used on both virgin and recycled paper. To ensure that you buy paper that has not used chlorine in its manufacturing process, look for the TCF (totally chlorine-free) or PCF (chlorine-free manufacturing) label.

Paper/cardboard waste and its recycling

Between 30 and 40% of the municipal solid waste generated in Europe is paper and cardboard.

In Spain, 84 kg of paper per inhabitant/year are collected for recycling. Taking into account the average consumption of 176 kg/inhabitant/year, only 49% of the paper consumed is recycled.

We Spaniards waste one million tons of paper and cardboard packaging and 850,000 tons of printing and writing papers, 40% of the paper and cardboard consumed.

As a positive fact, the specialization of our paper industry in the manufacture of paper, manufactured from  recycled fiber, means that more than 3.3 million tons of paper are recovered annually. used paper and cardboard.

We must mention that despite being behind in the recovery of used paper, throwing a lot of paper into the trash, in return we use 81% of what is recovered.

As the debate about the environmental impacts of products and services grows, myths and misconceptions are being created, according to which the paper industry is responsible for massive deforestation and has a negative impact on the environment. However, the paper industry in many countries is committed to the preservation of natural resources that constitute the origin of the main raw material: wood.

Practically everything has a carbon footprint. But let’s now compare the size of those footprints.

The production of 200 kg of paper, the average amount we use each year, generates between 130 and 250 kg of CO₂ depending on the energy source. That is equivalent to the CO₂ generated by a typical family car traveling a distance of 960 km. In fact, there is a study carried out by a physicist at Harvard University according to which a complex search lasting several minutes on Google can generate between 5 and 10 grams of CO₂. Let’s keep in mind that boiling water for a cup of tea generates 15 grams of CO₂.

Even the steak we will eat for dinner has a carbon footprint. Beef and veal have the highest carbon footprint of all meats – and let’s not forget methane, another greenhouse gas.

The European Confederation of Paper Industries (CEPI) foresees a 40% increase in investments in the sector in its transformation process to lead Europe in the low-carbon bioeconomy* that will allow The paper industry will reduce its carbon footprint.

The paper industry is making great efforts to include these and other measures and reduce its environmental impact. But consumers also have to fulfill their responsibility. Between 30% and 40% of the urban solid waste generated in Europe is paper and cardboard. Reducing consumption and optimizing the use and recycling of paper is everyone’s responsibility.

*Set of economic activities that obtain products and services, generating economic value, using, as fundamental elements, resources of biological origin, in an efficient and sustainable manner.

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