The use of paper has grown so much over the years that today the production and disposal of paper has become an environmental problem. The topic is a huge one and this Guide can only introduce the issues and suggest some alternatives.
The major issues are associated with the growing of trees for paper-making, the use of chlorine as a bleaching agent in the production, with the consequent production of dioxins, (see Shoppers' Guide no 4) and the amount of landfill taken up by waste paper products. Issues are not limited to New Zealand. Throughout the world thousands of hectares of native forest have been destroyed and replaced by plantation forests with consequent reduction of biodiversity and all the problems associated with monoculture. However there are strong moves towards sustainably managed forests overseas which are not matched here. Most of our photocopying paper is imported from Sweden. We have to balance the environmental costs of long-distance transport of sustainably produced paper, against the unsustainable management of forests, the use of chlorine and the waste dumping, which are part of paper manufacture in New Zealand.
There are 8 pulp and paper mills in New Zealand:
Tasman P&P Co, Kawerau, owned by Fletcher Challenge,
produce 350,000 tonnes newsprint and 200,000 tonnes kraft market
Winstone Pulp International, Kaioi, Hong Kong owned, produce 125,000 tonnes chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp, some bleached, all for export;
Carter Oji Kokusaku Pan Pacific, Napier, Japanese owned produces 220,000 tonnes thermo-mechanical pulp, all exported to Japan;
The remaining five mills are owned by Carter Holt Harvey.
NZFP Pulp & Paper, Kinleith, produce 235,000 tonnes heavy grade paper for sacks and corrugated board, and bleached and unbleached kraft market pulp;
NZFP Pulp & Paper, Whakatane, 75,000 tonnes coated
and uncoated cartonboards, boxboards, plasterboard liner, folder
manila and others;
NZFP Pulp & Paper, Te Papapa, 67,000 tonnes recycled
fibre corrugated medium;
NZFP Pulp & Paper, Mataura, 25,000 tonnes paper (photocopying, watermarked and plain notepaper, wallpaper base and recycled bag and wrapping)
Caxton Paper Mill, Kawerau, 45,000 tonnes toilet and towel
tissue, lightweight bag and speciality papers.
Tasman Pulp and Paper discharge 1 60 million litres of organochlorine
effluent every day. These chemicals persist in the environment
and accumulate in food chains yet Tasman refuses to switch to
non-toxic alternatives such as oxygen bleaching. The Bay of Plenty
Regional Council has adopted a new Tarawera River Management Plan
which far from rehabilitating the Tarawera river would allow Tasman
to continue discharging toxic waste into the river for at least
another ten years. The Minister of the Environment, Simon Upton,
has refused to look into discharges and to set up a hazardous
waste policy. Regional Councils are critical here and it is up
to us to hold them accountable.
Our choice as shoppers is limited by our ignorance. Here is Greenpeace's
guide to more sustainably produced paper which may help, although
shoppers will have to ask wholesalers/ printers of magazines,
etc. the origin of the paper since it is not printed on the outside
of the packaging of the product, so the retailer is unlikely to
* Recycled photocopier paper. CYCLUS is a Swedish paper made from 100% post-consumer waste which is de-inked and re-bleached in a totally chlorine-free process. All wastewater is biologically and mechanically treated. (Greenpeace's choice)
* Recycled paper for newsletters. CYCLUS (see above), ECOLADE is a New Zealand paper made from 100% post-consumer waste. It is not de-inked or re-bleached. but five thousand tonnes of wastewater is discharged into Mataura River every day and sludge is dumped to landfill. (see NZFP Pulp and Paper, Mataura)
*High quality Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) paper for stationary. CLASSIC LAID and CLASSIC SUPERSMOOTH papers are both produced using TCF pulps from the Swedish companies Sodra Cell and MoDo. Sodra Cell use only sustainably managed forest sources.
*Coated CTF paper for magazines. MEDIA GLOSS and MEDIA
SATIN are TCF papers made from approximately 80% Sodra Cell TCF
pulp and 20% TCF pulp from eucalypt plantation sources in Portugal.
Sodra Cell use only sustainably managed forest. IKONOREX is a
TCF paper from Austria made from 70% plantation-sourced TCF pulp
and 30% post-consumer recycled fibre.
IMPERIAL SATIN is a TCF art paper from Germany. The company has
declined to reveal the sources of the pulp.
EUROART is a TCF paper from Austria. No information on the pulp source.
* Recycled paper for magazines. CYCLUS PRINT is a coated
version of CYCLUS. HABITAT 100 is a bright white coated paper
made from 25% post-consumer waste and 75% pre-consumer waste(offcuts
at factory etc) which is de-inked and then rebleached in a TCF
process. Wastewater is mechanically and biologically treated and
"Grassroots Ltd" is a New Zealand, wholesale and retail
company, specialising in the distribution of sustainably produced
paper, recycled and TCF paper and paper products e.g. photocopying
paper, board for tickets , laser labels, binders, folders, toilet
tissue, serviettes, pads, bags made to order, gift boxes, gift
wrap and lots more. They also run a consultancy, working with
businesses on their requirements, to work out their best options.
They would prefer to be wholesale. We have to persuade retailers
to buy from them. They probably have a list of retailers who stock
their products but I don't have that information. Grassroots has
an information pack which includes price lists. As an individual
user or as a member of any organisation which uses paper products
you can contact Grassroots at Box 37 119 Parnell, Auckland. Phone
09 302 3522, fax 307 2738.
Other paper products, including disposable nappies and sanitary
towels, are a major topic on their own which may feature in another
Shoppers' Guide. Likewise the issue of waste disposal and access
to recycling depots for paper, will have to be left for another
day. I understand there is also a move to produce paper from other
plant sources which are more sustainably managed. Anyone have
information on this? This has already turned out to be far bigger
than I had imagined. I have learnt a lot from this particular
exercise, I didn't realise I was so ignorant of a product that
plays such a major role in my life. I will try to approach major
retailers and wholesalers to discover where they get their paper
from, not to mention talking to organisations I belong to about
their use of paper. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
Information from - Greenpeace NZ, letter and December 96
magazine. Grassroots Ltd, address above and NZ Forest Industry
General ideas on ethical shopping, some of the
decisions required when trying to shop ethically
can be found on the next page.
Just Shoppers' Guide is a guide to
ethical shopping. For further information contact:
The electronic version of Shoppers Guide has been taken directly from the paper version, with the permission of Pat Scott. For further information on the electronic version contact Stuart Sontier