life cycle assessments
Canada’s solid wood and pulp and paper industries complement each other. Fibre for pulp and paper production comes from sawmill wood waste or trees without the high quality needed for wood product. Canada uses more than 90 per cent of each log extracted from the forest – up from 61 per cent in 1970. About 87 per cent of the fibre used to make new paper and paperboard comes from a combination of sawmill residues and recycled paper.
Recycling recovered fibre is an integral part of today’s product manufacturing mix. However, fresh fibre will always be necessary. Recycled fibre breaks down with each use and about 15 per cent of paper products, such as tissues and documents stored for extended periods of time, cannot be recycled.
Research conducted by the non-profit Metafore group found that without fresh fibre from sawmill residues and harvesting, paper supplies for magazines would disappear in weeks and supplies for newspapers and cardboard boxes would disappear in months.
When recovered paper is used for products such as newsprint and kraft bags, it needs less processing and cleaning because the end result does not have to be bright. The environmental return is lower for brighter paper grades that need more processing.