Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Rock, Paper, ...... Dioxin?
According to an article from Emagazine.com, loss of forests isn't just about the trees. What I mean by that is, the absence of the resource isn't the only bad news when it comes to America's paper habit. Those trees we just ran through our printers now can't filter out carbon dioxide, CO2, the most prevalent global warming gas.
As I read over a variety of websites: Union of Concerned Scientists, Arbokem, Environmental Health Perspectives and others I was struck by the idea that paper, one of the tools civilization has been made wildly prolific by, has become one of the greatest sources of environmental threat. You see, once the trees are cut, the greenhouse gases increase and the pulp for the paper is processed in a highly toxic manner. According to Jim Motavalli, "the pulp and paper industry is the third largest industrial polluter in both Canada and the US, releasing more than 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into the air, ground and water each year."
The chlorine used to bleach conventional paper creates a deadly waste called dioxin. This highly cancerous chemical is now found in humans the world over. It is found in breastmilk - this means every new born is given the gift of this poison all in the name of bleaching paper products. There are alternatives - whenever you buy any kind of paper product make sure it says its been produced with a chlorine-free bleaching process. This isn't just good for those babies out there - the dioxin created is ending up in your groundwater and fish.
What can you do?
Join the Recycled Products Cooperative. Order your paper, school and office products from them. This can include tissues, copy paper and more. Tell your school, church and local government offices that you want them to buy recycled paper goods. Tell them you want them to change the margins on their documents. Then change the margins on your documents. Make a commitment to using only recycled paper goods - this will make an impact. You will make a difference. Tell others your story - let them see that change doesn't always have to be difficult and making changes now may mean less difficult changes later.
Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.