Back in the 1990s there was intense debate and campaigning to stop the toxic pollution caused by the pulp and paper industry. The root cause of the pollution were the chemicals used for bleaching, with chlorine and its associated compounds being particularly dangerous once released into the environment. In Europe and to a lesser extent North America, this led to significant improvements by the pulp industry, which tightened up its effluent controls and began installing totally chlorine free (TCF) bleaching technology into mills. Many environmentalists and industry professionals considered this issue to be a problem solved.
However, as the years went by, progress towards a chlorine-free pulp industry slowed. There are now signs that the trend is reversing, with the industry installing new chlorine-based bleaching technologies even into brand new mills. It is time to revisit this issue. The paper industry needs to ‘detox’.
To facilitate discussion on the topic, the EPN has hosted a webinar and published a discussion document about ‘detoxing’ paper.
On 17 January 2017, an EPN webinar was held, featuring a presentation by Rune Leithe. Rune is a forester who has been working for twenty years as an adviser/consultant working with many NGOs across the world, particularly on forest and forest industry issues. He has also produced a discussion document on this topic for us, which is here: 170112 Detox paper EPN discussion document 2.
Comments and feedback are welcome.