Magazine article National Wildlife

A Solution on Paper

Magazine article National Wildlife

A Solution on Paper

Article excerpt

Americans take pride in our nation's leadership on issues from business to environmental protection. Often it's warranted. Yet this publication-while itself enhancing conservation knowledge and commitment-offers striking evidence that America is lagging in critical areas of environmental protection and business competitiveness. It's up to us to demand improvement.

Beginning with this issue, National Wildlife will be printed entirely on paper made without the use of chlorine-known in the industry as totally chlorine-free (TCF). Though we had to buy overseas to get it, the move to TCF paper was a natural for the National Wildlife Federation, since the chlorine used in bleaching most other paper creates toxic chemicals that wind up polluting lakes and rivers, causing serious health problems for people and wildlife. By eliminating chlorine, TCF eliminates its consequences.

Remarkably, no U.S. manufacturer produces the high-quality TCF paper suitable for this kind of publication. It's not readily available here and won't be anytime soon. That means American paper mills that supply magazines will continue to pollute our waterways with toxic chlorine by-products while diminishing their own competitiveness in global markets.

Companies are reluctant to go chlorine-free due to short-term costs, fear that competitors might gain a price advantage and worry that demand could be low. Their reluctance feeds a vicious cycle: Limited availability drives prices higher and the two combine to discourage market development. An uncertain market means the American paper industry won't change and environmentally conscious publications, like NWF's, will be forced to buy elsewhere.

With all of the administration's rhetoric about "pollution prevention," you might expect the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give U.S. papermakers a nudge toward innovative clean technologies. …

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