Rising demand for eco-friendly products has created a wave of new choices on the market. As more products emerge to meet the need, a great deal of confusion is being generated around certifications and credible claims. Bottom line? It’s getting harder to make an informed decision.
So, what is a true eco-friendly paper? Is recycled fiber enough? In fact, very few of us know how the paper we use is manufactured – the type of energy and the quantity of water used – all of which can strongly impact the environment.
Energy, a key driver for a small environmental footprint
It’s no secret, paper manufacturing uses a lot of energy. Thus, renewable energy can dramatically help in reducing a paper’s environmental footprint.
Generally, the paper industry uses natural gas, or electricity generated from coal combustion or nuclear energy. These processes contribute to the depletion of natural resources, while at the same time producing undesirable greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, Cascades primarily uses biogas and hydroelectricity to manufacture its papers, neither of which requires the use of non-renewable resources and produces little-to-no carbon emissions as they are sourced from waste and water.
Biogas, energy generated from waste
Biogas results from the decomposition of waste buried in a landfill site, which has been captured to prevent its release into the air. It is then transported by pipeline over a distance of 8 miles to Cascades’ Rolland mill. Once on site, it is used as thermal energy for 93% of the mill’s paper manufacturing needs, replacing the need for traditional fossil fuels.
Valorisation of biogas is a sustainable initiative that locally reuses abundant resources which would otherwise be lost. During the production of fine papers, Cascades’ Rolland mill generates 70,000 fewer tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of removing 23,400 compact cars from the road.
As demonstrated by a Life Cycle Assessment, the biogas used is largely responsible for the small environmental footprint of Rolland Enviro100 and Rolland Opaque50. In fact, compared to the North American industry average for uncoated virgin and 100% recycled papers, Cascades’ fine papers have less impact on the environment. The production of these two papers generate, respectively, 67% and 60% less CO2 than the virgin equivalent.
As you can see, the type of energy used for paper manufacturing makes a noticeable difference on the environment.
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Rolland Enviro100 and Rolland Opaque50 are trademarks of Cascades.