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AF&PA Sustainability Report: U.S. Paper Recovery Beats Target Rate

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) reports that 63.4 percent of U.S. paper consumed was recovered in 2009, exceeding the group’s 60 percent recovery goal three years ahead of schedule, according to the association’s 2010 sustainability report.

The report also reveals that both direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, on an absolute basis, at member pulp and paper and wood products industry facilities have decreased. Total direct and indirect emissions from AF&PA member facilities totaled 64.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents in 2008, which is a 26.7 percent reduction compared to 2000. The association attributes nearly 40 percent of this reduction to efficiency improvements.

At pulp and paper mills, the combined direct and indirect emissions intensity rate for 2008 was 14.1 percent lower than in 2000 and 1.3 percent lower than in 2006.

AF&PA members are committed to reducing GHG emissions intensity 12 percent by 2012, compared to a 2000 baseline.

In November last year, the European paper industry said it reduced CO2 emissions per ton of paper produced by 42 percent since 1990.

Other AF&PA emissions also fell including pulp and paper mill sulfur-dioxide releases, which decreased 14.6 percent, and total reduced sulfur (TRS) emissions, which dropped by 18.6 percent, compared to 2006.

Emissions for nitrogen oxides remained unchanged. However, at wood products facilities, nitrogen oxide releases (per 1000 board feet of product produced) fell by 29 percent since 2000. But between 2006 and 2008, these releases increased by 12.8 percent, reflecting a 39 percent reduction in collective AF&PA member production levels for this period due to lower housing market starts, according to the report.

Other findings show that pulp and paper mill effluent discharge volumes (per ton of product produced), as well as total suspended solids (TSS) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) effluent release rates remained unchanged from 2006 levels.

Pulp and paper mill releases of chlorinated compounds have been virtually eliminated, while adsorbable organic halides (AOX), chlorine, and chlorine dioxide releases remain at very low levels. Chloroform releases decreased 34.7 percent between 2006 and 2008, and remain at low levels, according to the report.

Member pulp and paper mills derived 65 percent of its energy needs from renewable fuels in 2008. At wood products facilities, renewable fuels generated 73.5 percent of their energy requirements.

Since 1990, energy use per ton of production has been reduced by 8.2 percent, and in 2008, total energy use per ton of production was nearly the same as in 2006.

Since 1990, purchased energy and fossil fuel use per ton of production was reduced by 26 percent, but remained virtually unchanged in 2008 compared to 2006.

The report also indicates that nearly all AF&PA member facilities that generate electricity on-site use cogeneration technology. In 2008, the forest products industry surpassed the chemical industry and became the leader among all manufacturing sectors in the use of cogeneration technology, generating 37 percent of the total energy produced by cogeneration capable systems.

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