Can Using Paper Save Trees?

For years, you’ve been led to believe that using paper kills trees and contributes to the deforestation of the planet. But you still need (and maybe even prefer) paper for many jobs, which probably makes you feel guilty every time you print out a brief or copy a report.

So let’s set the record straight: Using paper sourced and produced in North America does not deplete forests. Why? Because North American forests are a sustainable, renewable resource. In fact, thanks to replanting and regeneration, the demand for forest products can actually lead to more forestland.

At Hammermill, all of our papers are third-party certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) or the Sustainable Forest Initiative® (SFI), which means they’re made with renewable resources from sustainably managed forests and/or recycled pulp.

Most of the forests we source from are privately owned, working forests. This is important. By paying landowners for the trees we harvest, we encourage them to keep their land forested instead of selling it to developers.

But is the paper industry actually saving trees? According to a 2012 study by the USDA Forest Service, during the previous 60 years, the net total forest area in the U.S. increased by more than 3%. That’s right, increased. And the net volume of trees on our forestland increased by 58%.

This was welcome, but under-reported news. Especially since an increasing forestland means an increasing reduction of greenhouse gases—trees take CO2 out of the air as they grow.

We think the industry group, Think Paper, says it best: “Continued use of paper and other wood products may be key to maintaining our forested landscape.” Put another way, if we don’t continue to use our forestland, we may lose it.

Think about that the next time you print out a brief.