A number of environmental releases are associated with manufacturing, recycling, and disposing of paper products. When a company explores ways to minimize one of these releases, it may find that other environmental releases are minimized at the same time (co‐benefits), or it may find that other environmental releases become larger (trade‐offs).
Environmental decisions therefore become something of a balancing act, maximizing co‐benefits while minimizing trade‐offs. The EFCT helps the public understand these sometimes complex interactions that become the scientific backbone of decisions related to minimizing a company's or a facility's environmental footprint.
The EFCT focuses on eight manufacturing‐related subjects: Recycled Fiber; Greenhouse Gases; Water; Chlorinated Compounds; SOx and NOx; Non‐Wood Fiber; Energy; and BOD/COD/TSS.
Each subject is explored by looking at increasing its use (in the case of Recycled Fiber and Non‐Wood Fiber) or decreasing its release (all other cases) in relation to associated environmental co‐benefits and trade‐offs in nine categories: Water; Energy; Greenhouse Gases; Chlorinated Compounds; Wood Use; Odor; Emissions to Air; Discharge to Water; and Solid Waste.
The website incorporates three levels of detail. The first level includes video content, "quick facts," and a grid that provides short statements on the environmental trade‐offs and co‐benefits for each subject area.
The second level provides an overview of basic facts (including a definition of the given subject area, current industry performance, opportunities for improvement, and challenges to future reductions).
The third level drills deeper into the co‐benefits and trade‐offs for each of the nine categories, for each subject area, with detailed text supported by published scientific references.
This layered system means the EFCT can be employed by various types of website users, from those with no knowledge of the industry to those with very detailed knowledge.
The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement is an independent, non‐profit research institute that focuses on environmental topics of interest to the forest products industry. Established in 1943, NCASI is recognized as the leading source of reliable data on environmental issues affecting this industry, and has nearly 100 member companies throughout the US and Canada.
For information: www.paperenvironment.org