Paper Market Trends in the United States

Posted March 02, 2016 in Pulp and Paper Industry by Elizabeth Tischer

While China is the largest producer of paper products in the world, the United States remains the biggest consumer. This demand requires additional resources in order to keep up with the products being made at the pulp mills. While some companies turn to illegal logging for supplies, others are looking at alternative methods to help prevent deforestation which can negatively impact the environment.

The paper industry is pushing to make some significant changes in the coming years. By the end of 2016, the goal is to have all virgin pulp and packaging traceable to the country of origin. In turn, by 2020 the sources will all be verifiable from pulp and paper packaging centers using only recycled or verifiable resources.

This does mean that the paper and pulp sources must be recorded. In order to do this, the following are being approached as part of the Sustainable Sourcing Charter in a partnership with The Forest Trust.

  • There is to be no deforestation in forests that have a high conservation value.
  • Areas with high carbon stock are prohibited from deforestation.
  • Only legal sources may be used for pulp.
  • No further development is permitted in peatlands. All existing paper sources on peat are audited and used in a responsible fashion.
  • Burning is now prohibited as an option for building and replanting due to the damage that it can cause to the surrounding area.
  • Local farmers who help to grow and manage the surrounding plantations for pulp will further comply with the new regulations that are in place.

These trends are part of a greener approach that the paper industry is looking to take. While virgin pulp and fiber still has a place in the industry, recycled and better managed resources for paper ensure that the impact on the environment is minimal. The goal is to find a balance that allows for better quality and better maintains any food safety and product specifications that are directed by legal requirements and industry standards.

The Forest Trust is helping to further push things. They are assisting with risk assessments and determining ways to further ensure that sustainable solutions are find. As the demand for paper and pulp increase, there is a need to avoid causing any irreversible damage to the environment in the process.

Certification is also a trend that is important. More companies are looking to expand on their list of compliance certifications. This includes the ones through the Forest Stewardship Council, The Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification. The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is another companies are striving for.

The United States Paper Market continues to move forward and advance in technology. Companies are doing more to focus on sustainable sourcing and to adhere to the forest governance and law enforcement practices that surround it. Through this, there is a greater chance for advance processing techniques to emerge and for companies to continue to provide the growing paper needs of the American market for generations to come. 

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