Has anyone read — or do you plan to read — this new book by John Perlin? I’m thinking of opening up this blog for guest book reviews. Let me know if this book or any other related to green energy is something you’d like to review.
Something to sneeze at: unbleached, 100 per cent recycled tissue latest sign of environmental progress in paper industrySeptember 4th, 2013
I received a box of tissue in the mail last week, which would seem an odd thing to receive, but as someone who writes about “green” technology and product trends, I get a lot of unsolicited and strange stuff. This particular package came from Cascades, the Quebec paper products manufacturer. It was tissue that is unbleached, 100 per cent recycled, and manufactured with wind power offsets. The tissue looks strange, mind you, but surprisingly it’s pretty soft on the schnoz.
It reminded me how much progress is being made in efforts to reduce our reliance on virgin wood (fibres) for a range of paper products. Railways ties and outdoor decking material are are now being made from recycled plastics. High-value chemicals, fuels and energy are being produced from wood waste. Even some vehicle manufacturers, while niche, are starting to use salvaged wood instead of virgin wood for interior detailing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that a little more than a third of all raw material fibre used by U.S. papermakers comes from recycled sources, and the numbers are growing along with efforts to keep paper waste out of landfills.
In addition to recycling, another way to take pressure off forests is to use different materials, such as recycled plastics, but also alternative plant fibres. Waste wheat straw is one promising option. Fast-growing and abundant, the more paper that can be made from wheat straw using energy-efficient, economical manufacturing methods the more sustainable our forests, which are nature’s carbon-sink workhorses. It’s why Corporate Knights, the magazine I have edited for the past two years, has decided to print its November issue on paper consisting of 60 per cent wheat straw. It’s an experiment — a North American first — one that we hope will prove this paper economical and practical for widespread use, whether for magazines, annual reports, corporate brochures or books. So stay tuned. We’re learning quite a bit as we go through this process, but we’re committed to getting it done with help from our partners. More details to come, but on November 21 be sure to get your copy of Canada’s Magazine of The Year.
Apologies for not posting here lately. As you’ve probably noticed, activity on this site has slowed down. There are a number of reasons. One is the cancellation of my Toronto Star clean technology and energy column in March. This column was the source for much of my original blog content. I’m not a big fan of reposting stuff that hundreds of other sites also repost (simply retweeting on Twitter does that job just fine), so I like to keep things original, local, or both. Doing so takes up considerable time, which brings me to my other reason: It’s been crazy busy. My job at Corporate Knights takes up a considerable amount of my time, as we have many cool projects on the go that I am leading. The fact that we were named Magazine of the Year in June is an indication that we’re heading in the right direction. It’s good, fun work, which is why I haven’t felt the need to use this blog as a tool of procrastination. In spare time, I’m focusing on my family during these summer months. Which brings me to my final reason: It’s summer. Life’s too short to be sitting behind a computing writing blog posts when the sun is shining, the air is warm, and there is so much to do with family and friends: go to beach, camp, go strawberry/apple/peach picking, play softball, enjoy a few beers on a patio with some friends, cosy up with the wife to watch a movie, etc…
All that said, I will be back. This fall I’m hoping to revive my Clean Break column somewhere else, at which point the content will start flowing again. I’m also looking to redesign the look and feel of this site, which is tired.
So with that, I hope everyone out there reading this enjoys their own summer and will come back to visit this site in September/October.