The Build Network, a group of editors, executive teams, and experts dedicated to making organizations adaptable and resilient, published an article in their Summer 2013 issue about the paperless office.
They teach our kids to be good global citizens. They teach us from an early age to reuse, reduce, and recycle the products we use. All of us realize by now that we need to take care of the environment and set an example for the world to follow. In my opinion no one knows this better than the teachers tasked with educating our youth. Yet, in an effort to reduce cost, many public school districts in Southern California are not practicing what they preach.
Some of the cheapest copy paper available today is Paperline paper from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). According to Greenpeace, Asia Pulp and Paper makes this paper in Indonesia from trees cut down from that region’s rainforests.
It was brought to my attention recently by Rick Roseth, Business Manager with Unisource World Wide, that over the past 30 days tons of this paper has been bought by the following school districts:
Orange Unified School District – 60 tons
Fullerton Unified School District – 40 tons
Anaheim Unified School District – 20 tons
Hemet Unified School District – 80 tons
Victor Valley Unified School District – 80 tons
That’s 280 tons of 8 ½ x 11 copy paper bought with our tax dollars in one month alone made from trees cut from the Indonesian rainforest!
These school districts are using Paperline paper every day as their primary copy paper in hundreds of classrooms across the city. I have to assume that the buyers did not know where this paper came from when they purchased it from the lowest vendor. I can’t believe that they knew the paper our teachers use in the classroom to teach sustainability came from the very same rainforests our kids are being taught to protect.
According to Rolf Skar, Senior Forest Campaigner with Greenpeace, the Greenpeace research team in Indonesia worked tirelessly to uncover the evidence that shows APP destroying rainforests and tiger habitat rather than developing plantations on better land. They visited plantations, studied satellite imagery and tested products in the US, Asia and across Europe. Yet Asia Pulp and Paper insisted that despite the clear evidence, their overall contribution to Indonesia’s economy was worth the sacrifice.
Our public schools need to practice what they preach. If they haven’t already done so they need to stop buying paper from unsustainable sources immediately, even if it costs the tax payers a little more.
There are many choices for copy paper available today. A suitable alternative that we use at BurdgeCooper is Multi-Purpose Paper from United Paper Mills (UPM). UPM paper is made from trees grown in sustainable forests from a mill with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the paper industry, and it only costs a few pennies more than paper which permanently ruins the earth’s precious rainforests.