If we were to tell you that the recycled tissue parent reels made at both of our paper mills was great for the environment, you probably wouldn’t bat an eye lid. After all, we source our waste from the UK, using a wide range of recycled paper from office waste to local factory off cuttings. The waste is sent to our Paper Mills, put into our pulpers, run through our screening machines and then it’s out the other end to create fantastic tissue products! No more trees harmed at all, even the cardboard cores we use in our paper disposables are made of recycled material. Once again, no more trees were harmed!
There has been a growing trend within the paper industry, particularly in the consumer sector for toilet rolls, tissues and kitchen paper towels. For each tree used in the manufacturing of the virgin tissue parent reels, a various numbers of saplings are planted to replace the fallen trees used in the production, this is usually soft wood trees such as spruce and pine. For plantations this makes sense as they need to maintain and grow their stock, and for keeping consumers happy, this is great PR! Or at least it was. Research has begun to show that the types of trees we are planting are not as eco-friendly as we thought, simply a false sense of looking after the environment.
Various sources claim that “Researchers found that in Europe, trees grown since 1750 have actually increased global warming … The scientists believe that replacing broadleaved species with conifers is a key reason for the negative climate impact … Conifers like pines and spruce are generally darker and absorb more heat than species such as oak and birch … The authors believe the work has implications for current efforts to limit rising temperatures through mass tree planting.” (M McGrath, BBC Environment Correspondent, 05/02/16). Conifers and birch are popular softwoods used in paper making, particularly for their longer fibre lengths. Research also suggests, as well as altering our planets temperature, these new trees grown on plantations actually soak up less carbon than natural trees, and unlike in a wild natural environment, where the trees decompose and become soil, whilst still keeping the carbon. When cut, trees grown on plantations release carbon back into the atmosphere. “The research team reconstructed 250 years of forest management history in Europe – and found that the way forests are controlled by humans can lead to far less carbon being stored than would have been the case when nature was in charge … Removing trees in an organised fashion tends to release carbon that would otherwise remain in forest litter, dead wood and soil”. (M McGrath, BBC Environment Correspondent, 05/02/16). These findings show that trees planted for the purpose of virgin paper do not reduce carbon footprints as much as you would think either.
The simple answer is to use recycled tissue products made from recycled tissue parent reels where possible. If more people were to use recycled paper products such as Fourstones blue centrefeed rolls, there would be less need to cut trees down in the first place.