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|RCA Newsletter - September 2001|
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cornell University Press announced the adoption of new paper purchasing policies to reduce office paper consumption by twenty-five percent and require environmentally preferable paper -- made from post-consumer recycled, agricultural and chlorine free fiber -- for its book publishing. As part of the effort, it has notified all of its printers of its 2003 deadline and has asked printers and distributors to verify the environmental characteristics of its paper lines. Working with Resource Conservation Alliance (RCA), Cornell University Press hopes to use its own policies as a model to persuade other university presses to go "green." As one of the top ten university presses in size, Cornell University Press' commitment sends a strong message to the university book publishing market for the need for greater recycled paper options. (For a copy of RCA's factsheet on "greening" publishers, see Using Less Wood: Focus on Publishers.)
The Northeast Recycling Coalition, which in 1997 spearheaded a 10-state collaborative to increase newsprint's recycled content, lowered its recycled content goal for newspapers from 40 percent to 27 percent, according to "Northeast Publishers Commit to Revamped Recycling Goal" in Recycled Paper News, volume 11, number 11, August 2001. With this new minimum level, large newspapers and newspaper groups, such as Dow Jones, Gannett, Knight Ridder and the New York Times, representing 86 percent of the annual newsprint consumption in the Northeast committed to the agreement as of late July, 2001.
According to Reach for Unbleached September 2001 newsletter, Millwatch, Rolland announced the addition of a new Process Chlorine Free (PCF) publishing grade paper certified by the Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA) -- New Life Opaque 100.
Along with the PAPER initiative -- Co-op America, the Independent Press
Association and Conservatree's campaign to "green" the magazine industry
(see the RCA-News May 2001 lead story at
Waste News reported on August 31, 2001 in "MIT, Businesses Explore Embedded-chip Package Tracking Technology" about the potential to use a memory chip in product packaging as a way to improve sorting of recyclables. The chip could contain information about the product such as the packaging material which could eventually aid recycling centers in sorting the material. The development of "smart packaging" is one of several applications being investigated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Waste News reported on their website's "Trends" sections about the garbage scattered along Florida's roadways. According to the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, fast food packaging accounted for 18 percent, product and other packaging accounted for 14 percent and printed paper accounted for 4 percent of the litter found near Florida's highways.
Meanwhile, a recent report shows that containers and packaging ranked as both the most generated and most recycled municipal waste in 1999, according to Waste News' September 3, 2001 article, "Economy, Waste Generation Soared in Late 1990s, EPA Report Says." Americans generated 76 million tons of both containers and packaging, and of that 37 percent were recycled. EPA's study also revealed that while municipal garbage (one indication of our consumption patterns) reached a high of 230 million tons in 1999 -- a 7 million ton increase from 1998 -- the recycling rate remained flat at 28 percent over the same period.
According to a September 9, 2001 New York Times article, "Together at Last: Cutting Pollution And Making Money," companies have been reaping the economic benefits of reducing their packaging. In particular, manufacturers of deodorants, toothpastes and cold medicines have largely eliminated the cardboard packaging for tubes and bottles which has reduced both paper waste and the package costs.
a) Studying Sustainable Design in a Green Building
b) Technology & Paper Consumption Update
c) Wood Re-Use Generates Income
d) EPA & Other Government "Green" Purchasing Steps
EPA hired a market research firm in order to determine what motivates federal government purchasers to go green and to assess their knowledge on environmentally preferable purchasing, according to Green Business Letter's article, "EPA Study Shows Why Green Purchasing is a Tough Sell" in its September 2001 issue. Some of the insights uncovered in the report included: Executive Orders were not seen as mandates, agency-specific mandates were more likely to be followed than federal wide mandates, few recognized the term "environmentally preferable purchasing" (EPP), participants believed others were responsible for EPP and the environment is not a primary consideration in purchasing decisions.
A number of federal agencies comprise the new Federal Network for Sustainability (FNS) which champions best environmental practices such as green purchasing and greening copy paper supply," according to the September 2001, Volume 3 Issue 3 of WinterGreen, Steven Winter Associates' monthly update. The initiative has launched a website at federalsustainability.org.
On the local level, The Oregonian reported on September 17, 2001 in "New Standards Turn Portland Greener" that the city has adopted a building policy which requires buildings financed by the Portland Development Commission -- the city's urban renewal agency -- to meet basic LEED certification standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. And, Seattle has created a residential wood recycling pilot program which turns wood debris into wood chips, according to Waste News' September 27, 2001 article "Seattle Launches Program to Recycle Residents' Wood Debris."
(Visit Government Purchasing Project for information on other "green" government procurement efforts.)
e) FSC Faces Tough Decisions in Different Regions
Controversial Malaysian timber barons are expressing their interest in FSC certification, because of potential economic benefits, according to "Malaysia Loggers Consider Turning Over New Leaf" reported by Reuters on September 4, 2001. Opponents of certification for these loggers raised concerns about their stance toward indigenous forest dwellers and other issues.
Meanwhile, World Wildlife Fund announced the creation of the Brazilian Forest Stewardship Council to certify local timber under the FSC label, according to Reuters' September 20, 2001 article, "Brazil Forms Eco-friendly Timber Certification Unit." Most of the Amazon rainforest -- one of the most biodiverse regions in the world -- is located in Brazil.
f) Corporate Recycling and Buy Recycled Programs Inadequate
g) Ag-fibers Implemented and Examined
Meanwhile, Vision Paper -- a manufacturer of kenaf paper -- is still planning the world's first kenaf-based, totally chlorine free (TCF) pulp mill, according to "Visions of Kenaf Pulp Mill are Alive" in Recycled Paper News, volume 11, number 11, August 2001. Currently, Vision Paper rents time at several paper mills to produce its kenaf paper. A dedicated kenaf mill would be more cost competitive, allowing the price of the kenaf paper to come down and the market to expand.
h) Sustainable Building Products Look to Increase Markets
Sustainable Business.com also explores the markets for green buildings, citing the use of environmental buildings by institutions such as Ford, Hines, Gap and the U.S General Services Administration in its article, "Can Green Be Gold?" But, according to this feature, green building product acceptance is slowed because the marketplace hasn't fully realized the value of "green."
i) When Building Codes and Sustainability Intersect
CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS
The next Staples Day of Action is scheduled for October 25, 2001. Since the launch of the campaign, Staples has responded with "We Recycle" posters in their stores and by opening a "Green Store" in Seattle. But, with less than 12 percent of their products containing any recycled content, activists are hardly satisfied. For more information on the campaign, visit Stop Staples.
October 25, 2001 is also the day of the Tree-free Campus Campaign Kick Off. Rainforest Action Network, American Lands Alliance, Free the Planet, Sierra Student Coalition, Student Environmental Action Coalition, ReThink Paper, National Forest Protection Alliance, and Forest Ethics are working together to encourage students to launch a campaign to boycott Boise Cascade on their campus. For more information on the campaign, see RAN's Tree Free Campus.
Upcoming conferences include Massachusetts's 7th Annual Buy Recycled and Environmentally Preferable Products Vendor Fair and Conference on October 30, 2001, the North American Industrial Hemp Council's Membership Session on November 3, 2001, the 5th New Crops Symposium on November 10-13, 2001 and the 4th Annual Conference of the American Kenaf Society on November 15-17.
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recently released the 288-page final edition of its LEED (TM) 2.0 Reference Guide. The guide is intended to provide support to those seeking certification under the LEED Green Building Rating System. The guide is part of a larger "reference package" and is available from USGBC for $400 (heavily discounted rates for USGBC members and workshop participants). See USGBC for more information.