- Four Billion Trees a Year is Not a Sustainable Choice
Howie Goldfinger, CEO, Ecorite
Recently, I read a piece in the piece in the Toronto Star  that sounded the alarm bell regarding substituting paper for plastic in our global packaging consumption – it’s not sustainable, according to the writer. As it is, she claims, the world consumes three billion trees a year in our pursuit of paper boxes, bags, straws, etc. A question to the Davinci chatbot on this very topic says her estimate is light by a billion trees.
Paper products are often seen as a more sustainable substitute for single-use plastics, but whether they are truly more sustainable depends on a number of factors. On one hand, paper is renewable and biodegradable, meaning it can break down into natural materials and be recycled into new products. On the other hand, paper production also requires a significant amount of energy, water, and chemicals, and can contribute to deforestation and habitat loss if not managed responsibly. Additionally, the process of recycling paper can itself have several negative environmental impacts.
In comparison, many single-use plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels and can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. However, some types of plastics are recyclable and can be used to make new products, which can help to reduce waste and conserve resources.
 Paper won’t solve the plastic problem -yet, Patty Winsa, Toronto Star, April 18, 2023