Y’all know that the paper for books is made out of pulpwood grown specifically for that purpose, right? Tree farms, not old-growth, established forests, usually a quick-growing pine. The land is then replanted with saplings, so really, you’re not saving a tree by reading an ebook, merely participating in a different environmental ecosystem that doesn’t involve heavy, earth-destroying mining (for the batteries), oil drilling and fracking (for the plastics), and (depending on where the mining is done) child labor.
Hmm. I’d rather not save a tree, thanks.
I do know something like that, C., but I was trying to be ironic.
Not far off the mar, though. Thing is, dead tree pulp isn’t the real problem.
Everything else is:
“Most paper is made from wood, and in its natural state paper is actually BROWN in colour! You’ve all seen brown paper bags and cardboard boxes, well that’s the real colour of unbleached paper. To change paper from its natural brown colour to white, it needs to be bleached, and that’s where the problems begin…
There are many ways to bleach paper, some more environmentally friendly than others, but most bleached paper is treated with some form of chlorine-based bleach.
Why is chlorine used? Chlorine bleaches paper really white and also removes the woody compound called lignin from wood pulp, which causes the yellowing of paper when it’s exposed to sunlight, as happens with newspapers. (Incidentally, newspapers are chlorine-free and CAN go in your compost bins, worm farms and gardens).
When chlorine binds with carbon-based (organic) compounds such as lignins in wood pulp, it produces highly toxic dioxins and other toxic organochlorine byproducts, which wreak havoc in living systems.”
Nothing is as simple as it looks.
You can use ozone for bleaching – but it results in high-acid paper (the process requires sulfuric acid to be added to the raw pulp – and even with neutralizing agents in production, the sulfur eventually turns back into acid).
I always love those who claim that tree farming is “CO2 free.” Not as currently practiced, where fossil fuels are used to plant, harvest, transport, process, and transport again to wherever it is burned for energy.
You could theoretically manage a completely “CO2 free” process by fermenting a large portion of the wood into methanol (and using that in all of your equipment) – but the total efficiency of such a method (per someone else that calculated it all out) would be less than five percent.
And it would increase the paper cost to support a stagnant market. Particularly on the capital investment side.
As discussed in the paper supply threads, paper producers have better ($$$) uses for their money, such as increasing cardboard production, which is a growth market.
Contrary to the myths, books are not special. Certainly not to the paper producers, who do understand price elasticity.
While I love my laptops, the manufacture of laptops, e-readers and cell phones produces large amounts of toxic byproducts and their disposal creates non-biodegradeable toxic waste.
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