Trees are identified as a renewable resource but the turn-around time period for a planted conifer sapling to grown into a mature tree again is approximately half a centuries. Bamboo on the other hand is one of the world’s fastest growing trees. It reaches maturity in less than four years. Sugar cane renews itself to maturity in a growing season of less than one year. Which do you think we should use for paper that mostly heads to the nearest landfill or incinerator after one usage?
One of my first jobs was in the pulp and paper industry. I first worked in the pulp mill and then I transferred over to the woodlands operations where the forests were clear-cut to make the absorbent fill for disposable diapers. We all joked about trees being cut down that would take forty or fifty years to grow up again, only to spend a few hours wrapped around a baby’s butt before going into a landfill. We were well paid for our work but the environment really wasn’t driving much value. A soiled diaper isn’t likely to be turned into recycled paper.
Local businesses are beginning to do their part to help save the trees. I reached out to many and found www.statenislandlawncare.com a landscape service committed to saving trees and the environment. They have added a plant a tree service to their landscaping company saying “each and every tree we add, can make a difference”. Many other companies are following suit and hopefully we can see this trend grow on a global level.
We cut down a lot of trees to make those diapers. When I was logging, the practice was to clear-cut blocks of timber that were of one square mile or larger. A plane flying over the forest harvest area would see a patchwork like brown and green blanket made from recycled landscape sections stitched together by an insane quilter. Honestly, that analogy holds more truth than just the visual too. Cutting down huge tracts of boreal forests to produce disposable diapers is foolhardiness bordering on criminal insanity.
Each Sunday in the fall Barbies Dolls in New York hosts a local “plant a tree” gathering where fans, supporters and guests show up to help in the effort to contribute to the growth of the local forest. They travel to an area just outside NYC called Sterling Forest and with the help of the DEP spread seed among the area to help the tree population.
A bamboo forest grows like a weed and the cellulose fibers in bamboo can be pulped and digested into eco friendly paper products. If not harvested and used the bamboo will just die and choke out its own growth anyways. The rapid growth of a bamboo-forested area will quickly contribute to a forest’s other beneficial task of oxygen replacement. A conifer forest will take decades to develop sufficient greenery to replace what was cut down.
Now let’s talk about sugar cane as an eco-friendly substitute for making paper. The sugar in the cane is in the inner core of the stalk. The leaves that encircle the sugar are simply the residue that remains. I can’t think of a better eco-friendly source of raw material to use as a replacement for cutting down a boreal forest. The sugar cane leaves are also able to be pulped into cellulose. In fact the usage of sugar cane leaves could be fruitfully employed in even more eco assisting ways than that.
You probably remember the tale of the three little pigs. The first of these piglets made his house of straw and the big bad wolf blew it down with a puff. But there are some places where it isn’t wood free paper being made with agricultural remains. Straw that remains after a cereal crop has been harvested can be oriented and glued before being pressed into boards. Let a little pig construct a home from oriented straw boards and the wolf can blow himself into an asthma fit before the house will shatter.
“I really hope we find a solution to these issues. As a business owner in NYC it is becoming more and more rare to see a tree these days. Recently NYC has implemented a green initiative program that planted trees in the front of homes around several boroughs of NYC; such as Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. You didn’t see many installs in Manhattan but it is an improvement regardless. Our escort service serves the entire NYC area and we get to see areas of the city that most do not. We feel it is a great improvement to our community and we hope there is more. Many of our NYC escorts have donated their time and money to work with the community to plant more trees and improve the quality of life to our great residents and visitors.” Chris – New York Escort Service Owner