Sustainability

Myth: Paper is bad for the environment.

Fact: Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products.

Paper is made from wood, a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and can be managed sustainably.





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In North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity. There are numerous benefits: extending the wood fiber supply; reducing greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding methane emissions (released when paper decomposes in landfills or is incinerated); contributing to carbon sequestration; reducing energy needed for paper production; and saving landfill space.1 These benefits, combined with the North American paper industry’s advocacy of responsible forestry practices, certification, the use of renewable biomass and advances in efficient papermaking technology, make paper one of the most sustainable products we use.

In North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity, with numerous measurable environmental benefits.U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) 2018

  • The paper industry adheres to respected third-party certification standards to ensure the paper you buy comes from a sustainable forest source. These include the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) standards.2
  • Credible certification contributes to a more sustainable timber products industry by helping create market conditions that support forest conservation. Such conditions also provide economic and social benefits for local communities, workers and the environment.3
  • Globally, about 11% of the world’s forests are certified, the majority of which are in North America.4
  • Nearly half of Canada’s forests are certified to an independent sustainable forest management standard. In fact, 37% of all certified forests worldwide are in Canada, the largest area of any country.5
  • In North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity. The benefits include reducing greenhouse gas emissions of methane released when paper decomposes in landfills (methane has a global warming potential 25 times higher than carbon dioxide), extending the supply of wood fiber, reducing the amount of energy needed to produce some paper products and saving considerable landfill space.6 These features, combined with the North American paper industry’s advocacy of responsible forestry practices, certification, the use of renewable biomass energy and advances in efficient papermaking technology, make paper one of the world’s most sustainable products.
  • About 40% of the fiber used in papermaking in the United States is obtained through recycling.7 The rest comes from wood that is typically obtained through thinning of forest stands being grown to larger diameters to provide raw material for lumber and plywood, patch clearcutting of smaller diameter trees managed for pulp production, and collection of chips and sawdust produced as byproducts in the production of lumber.8


Thanks to Two Sides North America, Inc. for the information on this page.
Go to twosidesna.org for more information!


  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016
  2. American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), 2018
  3. World Wildlife Fund, 2020
  4. Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, 2019
  5. Certification Canada, 2019
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2018
  7. AF&PA, 2020
  8. Dovetail Partners, 2016