Submitted by: Matthew Robson May 17, 2021
Two Sides’ latest study ‘Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World’ aims to understand changing consumer perceptions towards print, paper, paper packaging and tissue products. This unique insight into consumer attitudes towards one of the world’s oldest and universally used materials will be repeated biennially to monitor and report upon evolving consumer perceptions as environmental awareness intensifies and alternative digital channels of communication become prevalent.
Results of the 2021 study show that, whilst paper retains its place as a vital communication and packaging medium, there remain misconceptions about the environmental impact of the paper industry.
The study found that consumers still believe forests are decreasing in size. Only 6% of our managed plantations are harvested each year and new trees are planted to the same land in the same year of harvesting. This is sustainable forestry.
During 2020, South Africans recycled 1.1 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging, putting the country’s latest paper recovery rate at 73%, up from 68.5% in 2019.
This is according to RecyclePaperZA, the paper recycling association, which states that South Africa has kept 19 million tonnes of paper out of landfills over the past 15 years, enough to cover 3 456 soccer fields.
Recycling, often termed ‘separation at source’, involves separating your wet waste from recyclables such as paper, paper packaging, plastic, glass, tin, and even electronic waste so that these materials can be reprocessed into new products. “By recycling we not only reduce the burden on our landfills and support livelihoods, but we are also more mindful of the waste we create and where it should be going
The past year has accelerated the growth of electronic communication, with meetings, events and day-to-day business increasingly being conducted online and consumers relying more on online news. While convenience and the ability for people to work at home are undoubtedly key drivers in this shift, the environmental impact of digital communications is often overlooked.
Paper and print products are among the lowest greenhouse gas emitters at 0.8% whereas, the ICT industry accounts for 2.5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2030.
“This report shows there are many environmental misconceptions surrounding print and paper products, “Many consumers believe that South African forests are shrinking in size, massively underestimate the paper recycling rate, and do not understand the sustainable nature of paper products. These misunderstandings make the work we do with Two Sides and Love Paper even more vital.”
To find out more about the Two Sides campaign, and how you can become a supporter visit: twosides.info