By Joshua Martin

Popular environmental impact estimator aims to drive innovation in paper use and purchasing

Asheville, NC – An improved web-based Paper Calculator, launched today by the Environmental Paper Network-North America, will provide tens of thousands of annual users with new information and features to help them measure the impacts of their paper and reduce that impact through better choices.

Paper Calculator version 4 is the most comprehensive update of this tool to be released. It delivers more expansive environmental impact categories including additional pollutants and new biodiversity and ecosystem impacts, for a total of 24 indicators in all. It provides more accurate climate change reporting and has been updated with the latest paper industry and life cycle assessment data from trusted sources. Additionally, the new calculator covers an expanded range of paper grades, and now includes the growing sector of tissue products.

This new version is powered by a next-generation life cycle assessment that continues the tool’s legacy of innovation in the field. These updates reflect a multi-year effort by experts from leading environmental groups, such as CanopyNatural Resources Defense CouncilNational Wildlife FederationSierra Club and Conservatree, as well as representatives from academia and business, including the University of Southern California and Kimberly-Clark Corporation. The process was facilitated by SCS Global Services, a leading third-party certifier and standards developer.

“These important LCA updates will not only help users make even more informed choices about paper products than ever before, but also set a new benchmark of transparency for other product sectors,” said Keith Killpack, SCS’ Manager of LCA Services. “We congratulate the Environmental Paper Network for its continued leadership in support of responsible sourcing.”

The Paper Calculator’s user experience has also been enhanced. Like the earlier version, version 4 is easy to operate and can be used to generate custom reports. Version 4 also provides users with new resources, such as detailed descriptions and common product examples of the paper grades included, a feature to calculate the weight of a user’s copy paper using the number of reams or sheets, and improved transparency via a new resource document that details the calculator’s methods.

Global paper consumption is steadily increasing, and North Americans consume more paper than anyone else in the world. Packaging and tissue products are driving growth, and while replacing single-use plastics with paper is currently trendy, it creates more pressure on forest ecosystems. Reducing our impact on the planet is critical, and awareness and measurement are key pieces of the puzzle.

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