Friday, July 20, 2007

more tree climbing!

we are so blessed to have so many "climbing" trees around us, at the farmers market, at the CSA.......Though I grew up in suburban London I still remember a few trees that I played around, hid under, built homes in and used as a home base. One was a sycamore tree at my junior school in Highgate. I remember the beautiful gardens which included an old glass green house, some woodland areas where at different times of year we could see red fox and this huge old sycamore tree, I also remember a hollow bush where were spend many hours creating our home. The other tree that I remember loving was a weeping willow, the kind that I imagine from the "The Wind in the Willows" it was at my friend Juliet Davis house not so far from where we lived. It was located near the back of their yard not so far from a brook. How I wish I had a photograph of one of these trees and memories!

Staying with the theme of trees this weeks "environmental pledge" will center around paper useage. Reducing it........cancelling catalogs, asking my address to be removed from junk mail lists, watching my use of computer paper, and of course reusing as much as possible.

The average American consumes 700 lbs of paper every year, of that only 51.5% is recycled. Our paper consumption has increased three-fold since 1961 and continues to rise.

Understanding sustainable paper lingo

The best solution for paper selection is:

100% Post-Consumer Waste (PCW)
Processed Chlorine Free (PCF)
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified
Made by renewable energy sources (wind, geothermal, solar, etc.)
Treeless paper like bamboo, hemp and kenaf (if readily available locally)

Chlorine is an ideal chemical to remove lingin from paper pulp to increase its strength and also make the paper a brilliant white. However Chlorine also releases deadly organochlorines, PCBs, and dioxin into our water supply (from releases at paper mills.) Animals exposed to these releases have been known to experience a weakened immune system, heart and respitory problems. (Source: Seventh Generation).

The best choice, when choosing paper, is to select a paper that is Processed Chlorine Free (PCF). Below is a list, in order of environmental preference, of Chlorine free paper types and explanations.

Processed Chlorine Free (PCF):
Paper is made from fiber recycled from post-consumer waste (PCW) and unbleached or bleached without Chlorine compounds. PCF paper is the most environmentally friendly type.

Totally Chlorine Free (TCF):
Paper made from 100% virgin fiber (including alternative fiber from sources other than trees) that is unbleached or bleached with non-Chlorine compounds. TCF cannot apply to recycled papers, because the source fiber cannot be determined.

Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF):
Paper made from virgin or recycled fiber that is bleached using alternative Chlorine compounds as a substitute for elemental Chlorine.

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