Bamboo paper is not forest-friendly.As public interest in "tree-free" paper has grown, some companies within the pulp and paper industry The global pulp and paper industry is dominated by North American (United States, Canada), northern European (Finland, Sweden) and East Asian countries (such as Japan). Australasia and Latin America also have significant pulp and paper industries. have seized upon tropical bamboo as a "green" alternative to virgin wood fiber. But industrial use of tropical bamboo, combined with an escalating global paper demand, threatens what remains of the world's last intact bamboo forests.
In 1996, several domestic paper makers -- Fox River, Lyons Falls and Unicorp-Phoenix -- began importing plantation-grown bamboo from Thailand's Phoenix Pulp & Paper Co. Soon thereafter, several bamboo papers became widely available, the most prominent of which were Fox River's Rubicon and Unicorp-Phoenix's Impressions line of coated sheets.
In 1997, ReThink Paper issued a public alert urging consumers to avoid purchasing these papers after learning that the Phoenix operation had displaced local people, disturbed native ecosystems and was seriously polluting the surrounding watershed [Fall '97 EIJ EIJ Egyptian Islamic Jihad
EIJ Eritrean Islamic Jihad (Eritrea)
EIJ Earth Island Journal (San Francisco, California) ]. More fundamentally, the concept of shipping pulp halfway around the globe -- particularly from ecologically sensitive regions like Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, region of Asia (1990 est. pop. 442,500,000), c.1,740,000 sq mi (4,506,600 sq km), bounded roughly by the Indian subcontinent on the west, China on the north, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. -- was not environmentally sound.
Following RTP's critique, Lyons Falls stopped purchasing bamboo pulp, citing market volatility as the basis for its decision. At a meeting of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry's Nonwood Plant Fibers Committee last October, representatives of Fox River Paper Co. publicly pledged to secure a domestic source of nonwood pulp for its Rubicon line as soon as one became available.
Some companies, however, continue to promote bamboo as a bona fide [Latin, In good faith.] Honest; genuine; actual; authentic; acting without the intention of defrauding.
A bona fide purchaser is one who purchases property for a valuable consideration that is inducement for entering into a contract and without suspicion of being environmental alternative to wood-based paper.
Around 30 companies with production volume ranging from 27,000 to 220,000 metric tons per year are listed in the 1998 International Pulp & Paper Directory as major producers of bamboo pulp and paper. Since there are no international standards, rules or certification mechanisms in place for bamboo, neither paper producers nor consumers have any way of knowing whether the bamboo they purchase is coming from endangered ecosystems.
Bamboo grows naturally in some of the most biologically-diverse and threatened forests in Southeast Asia, South and Central America Central America, narrow, southernmost region (c.202,200 sq mi/523,698 sq km) of North America, linked to South America at Colombia. It separates the Caribbean from the Pacific. , and the Caribbean. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the World Wildlife Fund, key bamboo habitat4n Asia is home to "around 100 mammal species, over 200 bird species, at least 20 reptiles, and at least 14 amphibians amphibians
members of the animal class Amphibia. Includes frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and cecilians all capable of living on land or in water. ."
Paper industry consultant Joseph Atchison estimates that global annual bamboo pulp capacity is now around 1.46 million metric tons, nearly 80 percent of which is centered in China and India.
Dr. Karl Bareis, coordinator of the International Bamboo Association, estimates that Asia's remaining available bamboo reserves are now around 11.8 million acres. Were bamboo to become a high-demand fiber in the global marketplace, these critical areas would surely suffer.
According Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary Magazine, "bamboo is being extracted from at least 60-70" of India's protected forests. The fragile Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve suffers massive bamboo extraction for paper mills, a process that Sahgal says poses a severe threat to the internationally treasured animal.
An April 1998 article in Business Line happily noted that "the greatest [remaining] untapped bamboo forests are in Myanmar (Burma)," and lamented the fact that "presently only 20,000 tons of bamboo pulp are being made there annually." Interest in bamboo for pulp and paper is also growing in the Western Hemisphere Western Hemisphere
Part of Earth comprising North and South America and the surrounding waters. Longitudes 20° W and 160° E are often considered its boundaries. , where a major US paper manufacturer has reportedly begun hatching plans to exploit large natural reserves in the Caribbean.
Bamboo-based paper also perpetuates the wood-based paper status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. because -- unlike perennial agricultural fibers -- it can be chipped in existing wood-based mills. Existing pulp mills must replace their machinery to process agricultural residues, hemp hemp, common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa) of the family Cannabinaceae, native to Asia but now widespread because of its formerly large-scale cultivation for the bast fiber (also called hemp) and for the drugs it yields. or kenaf Noun 1. kenaf - fiber from an East Indian plant Hibiscus cannabinus
bimli, bimli hemp, Bombay hemp, Hibiscus cannabinus, kanaf, kenaf, Indian hemp, deccan hemp - valuable fiber plant of East Indies now widespread in cultivation , so the continued use of bamboo only serves to discourage the conversion to nonwood paper technologies.
Meanwhile, more than 280 million tons of excess agricultural residues are produced annually just waiting to be harnessed, according to Maureen Smith Maureen Smith was a third-party candidate for President of the United States in the United States presidential election, 1980. She represented the Peace and Freedom Party (United States) and her running mate was Elizabeth Cervantes Barron. , author of The US Paper Industry: An Argument for Restructuring. In California, a pioneering paper company called Arbokem is proposing to collect and process rice straw residue from the state's Central Valley farmers who face a phase-down of straw burning due to air pollution concerns.
In the Midwest, Heartland Fibers has secured funding for a 100,000-ton-per-year mill that will transform corn stalk corn·stalk also corn stalk
The stalk or stem of a corn plant.
Noun 1. corn stalk - the stalk of a corn plant
cornstalk residue from area farmers into chlorine-free, tree-free pulp. Heartland's $150 million Nebraska plant will turn up to 1,400 dry tons of corn stover Corn stover consists of the leaves and stalks of maize (Zea mays ssp. mays L.) plants left in a field after harvest. It makes up about half of the yield of a crop and is similar to straw, the residue left in field after harvest of any cereal grain. (corn plant stalks) into 400 tons of paper pulp each day. Two dozen paper companies have judged corn stover pulp is equal to or better than North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. hardwood pulp. Because corn stover pulp can be bleached without using chlorine, the plant will not pour dioxins into the watershed. The plant should be operational by the end of 1999.
But consumers need not wait. There are nearly a dozen North American pulp and paper manufacturers that produce nonwood-based papers commercially (see resources list below), proving that paper need not come from forest ecosystems of any type -- bamboo or otherwise.
RELATED ARTICLE: ReThink Paper Publications
Solution Series Profiles
* Kenaf * Hemp (also on our website)
Ecological Paper Resource Guides
* Paper Locator by Brand, Grade, Fiber, and Processing Method (forthcoming)
* National Resource List of Office, Printing & Writing Papers (also on our website)
* ReThinking Wood
* 7 Things Your Business/Organization Can Do to ReThink Paper
* Activist Toolkit
* Elementary Teacher Nonwood Paper Presentation Kit
* National Forests: Protected or Pulped?
* Bamboo Paper Consumer Advisory (also on our website)
ReThink Paper, an Earth Island project, is a nonprofit network of environmentalists, industry experts and concerned citizens dedicated to developing a truly sustainable pulp and paper industry. To join RTP (1) (Rapid Transport Protocol) The protocol used in IBM's High Performance Routing (HPR) system.
(2) (Realtime Transport Protocol) An IP protocol that supports real time transmission of voice and video. send a check/money order for $25 ($15 student or senior) to ReThink Paper [Flood Building, 870 Market Street, No. 1011, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 398-2433, fax: -2635, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.earthisland. org/paper/rtp.html].