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International Paper Cuts Energy Use, Increases Landfilling

International Paper reduced its global energy use from 2007 to 2010, but increased its landfilled solid waste from 2006 to 2010, according to the company’s 2010 Sustainability Report.

Since 2006, IP’s solid waste landfilled has increased by 2 percent per metric ton of production. “This increase resulted from fewer outlets for the beneficial reuse of ash in cement due to the global downturn in the construction industry and the purchase of Weyerhaeuser’s recycling infrastructure, which generated an increased amount of recycling-related reject materials,” the report says.

But during the same period, the company says, it increased the proportion of solid waste burned for energy or beneficially used – up from 43 percent in 2006 to 48 percent in 2010.

From 2007 to 2010, the reports says, the company reduced its global energy use by 3 percent and its use of non-renewable energy by 9.5 percent per metric ton of product. In that time it also reduced fossil fuel direct and indirect GHG emissions from stationary combustion sources by 29 and 1 percent, respectively.

In absolute terms, the company reduced its total energy use by nearly 7 percent over the same time period, which it says is equivalent to the energy needed to power 420,000 homes.

Onsite generation accounted for 63 percent of the electricity consumed by its global pulp and paper manufacturing facilities in 2010, with the company meeting nearly 70 percent of its global energy requirements with renewable biomass such as bark and wood residuals.

The company says that improving self-sufficiency continues to be a priority. In 2010, a $36 million investment at its Kwidzyn Mill in Poland increased that site’s electrical self-sufficiency from 40 percent to nearly 90 percent. Recently announced investments in a CHP facility at the Svetogorsk Mill in Russia are projected to increase efficiency from 33 percent to 50 percent.

IP invested $45 million in capital projects during 2010 to improve overall energy efficiency. It expects these projects to result in a 3.5 trillion Btu annual reduction in fossil fuel use and a GHG reduction of 200,000 metric tons annually.

The company said that when compared against production, its water withdrawal and discharge volumes did not change significantly from 2008 to 2010. The report does not give exact figures, but a chart in the report shows that water influent rose slightly – from perhaps 48 cubic meters to 50 cubic meters per metric ton of production – and effluent fell slightly, from about 45 to 44 cubic meters.

The company notes that quantitative data regarding its air emissions, water use and solid waste cover only the even-numbered years because its environmental data collection aligns with the North American trade association’s data collection process, which is conducted every other year. IP did not judge its water use data for 2006 to be sufficiently accurate to include in this report. It has plans to move toward annual reporting for all its environmental metrics.

International Paper says it is the largest user of recycled fiber in the United States, with three mills making products with 100 percent recovered fiber, and 90 percent of its mills using some level of recovered fiber in the products they make. But depending on the product manufactured, the company says that using recycled content can sometimes require more fossil fuel, water, fiber and chemicals, making new fiber the right environmental choice.

The IP recycling business is one of the largest recyclers of recovered office paper and corrugated boxes in North America, annually recovering about six million tons of fiber, or about 12 percent of U.S. fiber collection.

In a fall 2010 project, IP partnered with Starbucks and Mississippi River Pulp, LLC to test the feasibility of turning used paper cups back into new, FDA-compliant, paper cups. In the initiative, hot cups were recovered, sorted, bailed, combined with other raw materials, processed, made into cupstock and finally converted into new cups.

“Although we did not identify any adverse effects of processing the material in any of the manufacturing operations, several challenges related to the collection and sorting of the cups still exist and must be addressed before we are able to make the Cup-to-Cup concept a widespread reality,” the report said.

The report also addresses the issue of sustainable forestry, with International Paper stating that it recognizes and supports third-party standards from the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, as well as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the standards the PEFC endorses, including Cerflor and American Tree Farm System.

But the report does not specify how much of IP’s product output is certified to these standards. “Most of International Paper’s operations are certified to one or more of these third-party fiber procurement, chain of custody or forest management certification standards. Our fiber certification programs assure that all of the fiber we use originates from responsibly managed sources,” the report says.

International Paper also says it is a global leader in credible chain of custody standards, which verify that the company has systems in place to track certified fiber. But it does not say what proportion of its operations adhere to CoC standards, again saying only that, “With most of our pulp and paper mills and converting operations certified to the FSC CoC standard, we have one of the largest FSC-certified manufacturing platforms in the world today.”

In 2010, International Paper was one of 78 companies to participate in the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Project. Modeled on the Carbon Disclosure Project, the two-year-old FFD Project is a U.K. government-supported initiative created to help investors identify how an organization’s activities and supply chains contribute to deforestation and to link this forest footprint to the organization’s value.

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