sábado, 6 de junho de 2009

Has paper a high carbon footprint?

Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, that have arisen through the manufacture and distribution of a product or service.
Producing 200kg of paper, the average we each use every year, creates between 130–250kg of CO2 depending on the source of energy. This is comparable to many other small scale domestic activities, and is roughly equivalent to the CO2 produced by an average family car over a distance of 600 miles.While the main raw material of paper, trees, is a vast carbon store and the prime absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the precise carbon footprint of the paper cycle is difficult to pinpoint as it depends on how the paper is made and the source of energy used in production. Nuclear, hydro, biofuel and geothermal energy, heavily used by some paper making countries, are all low carbon, while fossil-fuels are carbon intensive.
"A sustainably managed forest can be relatively carbon neutral if logging is balanced with re-growth"(1).
Globally, individual forestry is estimated to result in the absorption of 1 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum(2)
"Reading a newspaper can consume 20% less carbon than viewing news online" (3)
A single person reading a daily printed newspaper in Europe uses the equivalent of 28kg of CO2 per year
For a person reading web-based news for 30 minutes a day, the global warming potential is the equivalent of 35kg of CO2 per year
So, we can conclude that paper carbon footprint is not so high as namy people thinks!

References
(1) The Sustainable Procurement of wood & Paper products: An introduction. www.sustainableforestprods.org

(2) Australian Paper Industry Association (APIA)
(3)Swedish Royal Institute for Technology

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