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Dismantling paper and board fake news

The paper and board industry is the victim of many fake news and false beliefs that circulate around it. Twelve organizations in the paper chain belonging to the Paper Forum have published an article, where myths and urban legends about paper are dismantled, with contrasted and updated data, and from solvent sources.

  • “Deforestation is increasing, we are destroying the forests”. In Europe, according to the FAO, the forest is growing 300,000 hectares a year.
  • “Spain is becoming a desert.” In Spain, forests are growing. The largest areas of forest in Europe are in the Russian Federation, Sweden, Finland, Spain and France. Since 1990, forests in Spain have grown by 34% and continue to grow.
  • “Forests are being destroyed to produce paper.” Wood for paper is grown in plantations. To make paper, wood from exotic species from tropical forests, is NOT used. Wood from fast-growing species is used to make paper.
  • “There are many plantations: they are filling Spain with eucalyptus trees, which cause fires and desertification.” Eucalyptus and pine paper plantations occupy 2.6% of the total area of forests in Spain, they are on wasteland and help to preserve the forests.

      Plantations are bad for the environment. Eucalyptus and pine plantations for paper are efficient carbon sinks, help regulate the water cycle and are sustainably managed.

  • “Paper manufacturing wastes water and energy and pollutes.” The Spanish paper industry contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and especially to responsible production and consumption (SDG12), with the efficient use of water and energy and circularity in the management of process waste.
  • “The paper sector is not sustainable, it is an industry of the past.” Circular bioindustries such as the paper industry are the industries of the future.
  • “Paper is a product in the process of disappearing.” Because of its environmental characteristics and versatility, paper is replacing other materials.
  • “A digital, paperless world is more environmentally friendly.” Paper, in addition to being renewable and biodegradable, has a better environmental performance in terms of emissions and recycling than digital technologies.
  • “Paper books are no longer read.” 62% of Spaniards read books in paper format, a growing percentage in the last decade.
  • “Only recycled paper should be used.” Virgin and recycled fiber are the same fiber at two points in its life cycle.
  • “Very little paper is recycled in Spain.” The Spanish paper industry is the second largest recycler in Europe.

Contrary to myths and urban legends, proven data show that bio-industries, which, like the paper industry – using natural and renewable raw materials – manufacture recyclable products with a lower carbon footprint, are the industries of the future.