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Friday, 8 February 2013

If paper is so bad, why is wood so good?

I was looking at a customers website today to find out some contact details. The customer makes bespoke children's play areas. What really caught my attention was the analysis on the materials used.

Concrete and Steel were generally seen as poor environmentally and were large energy users and carbon emitters.

This was the comment on wood:

'Wood from sustainably managed sources cannot only be an excellent structural material, but also an environmentally conscious choice.  As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, whereas cement and steel release CO2 into the atmosphere.  In well-managed forests, trees are coppiced or new trees are planted after harvest, to continue the carbon absorption process.  So timber is a ‘carbon negative’ material (which is a good thing!) (Forestry Commission publication ‘Carbon benefits of timber in construction’ 2006)'

Now the thing about this is that we are constantly being told that paper is a source of environmental harm. 'Think green and keep it on screen' we are told.

Surely there is a contradiction here. Paper and timber both come from the same place.

The reality is lies in the marketers phrase - 'it's not what you do, its what people think you do that counts'.

For example, data centers that power the internet use 2% of the UK's energy resources - the same as the Airline Industry and more than the print and paper industry (TwoSides). And spam email produces the carbon equivalent to driving a car for 33000000 miles! (McAfee). Yet, digital delivery is dressed up as a green option??

Makes you think doesn't it?