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Re: E-M:/ Deforestation, Dioxin, and No Commercial Logging!-Reply -Reply

Enviro-Mich message from "DAVE MERKEL" <48MERDAV@menasha.com>


You raise some interesting points, and I appreciate your frankness without for the most part being punishing personally to me. You have a great deal to say, and a lot of questions about things that I cannot frankly answer because I am ignorant, for example, on what IP did or did not do in Mexico. 

I can say that yes, my company uses no bleaching to produce our paper because we are a brown paper mill. We produce paper that is the fluted material on the inside of cardboard boxes, and therefore there are no color or brightness requirements. The requirements for our paper is that is be strong and low cost, and therefore efficiently made. Most companies using bleaching are changing over or are studying and engineering different ways to bleach. Many have gone either TECF (total elemental chlorine free), or utilize oxygen etc. The Cluster Rule, which our industry is working through right now, has or will spend hundreds of millions on new technologies. It takes time and money, and they are doing a good job responding to the challenge. If you want some numbers and facts, I suggest you contact one of the companies that makes fine papers. Menasha only makes brown papers.

We utilize 70% postconsumer waste to make our paper. There is not enough paper available for every paper mill in the US or the world to use only 100% post consumer paper as furnish. Demand is too high.

As far as using hemp, as I said in a post a few ago, it would matter a great deal what the end paper product was that was being made. It could perhaps be used, but maybe not. As far as yield, we have studied Kenaf, and although it has a yield similar to virgin hardwoods, and some properties similar to virgin kraft, in the north the crop would not pay for itself currently because the farmers would only get basically one cutting per year (producing less fiber than trees). Our own study shows that for mills in the deep south, perhaps two growths per year is possible, making it much more feasible to fiber paper mills. I think you will see more and more alternative fibers used over time.

On wether wood based papers last as long as hemp: most of the distinction paper has as having a short life comes from the papers produced in the past with acid sized systems. The acid eventually broke down the cellulose, and the paper fell apart. Most writing and printing papers today are made with alkaline or neutral sizing, and these have very long lives when kept in humidity and temperature control like libraries. The Constitution I believe is also housed to keep oxygen off of it, and is blanketed in one of the inert gases to prevent oxidation. Without air, water and temperature as issues, many chemical reactions will never occur, and therefore the paper will remain intact.

With regards to why not use help, to the contrary the paper industry has spent large dollars studying alternate fiber sources, and some use them as a percent of production. Once people beginning to understand the almost scary amount of capital mills have tied up in existing assets, your answer is fairly obvious. To get into focus and perspective, if your house, car, refrigerator, telephone, TV and furnace suddenly became obsolete and you had to spend your income for the next 10 years just getting caught up buying all of the latest developing technology so you could live, keep warm and get back and forth to work, you would find it not possible. Again, paper companies, other companies, and you and the rest of the worlds population all live on budgets, and it is a lot tougher than what you think. The bottomless corporate coffers, like ElDorado, are a myth.

With regards to your taking issue with my statement about third world nations backseat environmental stances, you are welcome to take offense. I have every confidence that there are some good grass roots things happening in other countries, and perhaps you are part of that. That is great. My point however is that these countries just  want to "dance" just like the US, and I have concerns that, like the US, most people will vote with their pocket books as opposed to their conscience. It is not that people don't want to preserve their land, but only if they also get what they want. I am not going to get into an esoteric argument about wether this is right or not, but I do believe it is reality. If it is not, then I wonder about all the activists out there who are driving cars, flushing their toilets, using their computers, and printing out what I just wrote onto bleached white paper with their HP Inkjets etc.

Is there not a way for more people to come together on this subject, as opposed to flinging poison darts?

David Merkel

`please note these are my own ideas and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of Paperboard Division Menasha Corporation`
>>> Frank Ambrose <fambrose@bloomington.in.us> 07/01/99 02:30pm >>>

What about hemp as a fiber? Before world war 2, our paper, ropes, etc
came from hemp. The constitution is on hemp. Will wood based papers last
that long? wood has only been used since the chemical process to
use wood fiber for paper was developed by dupont. The company then went on
an all out spending binge to make the plant illegal.  

What about yield? Hemp produces much more fiber per acre than does trees,
and it is an annual crop. So, you can get more in one summer from hemp
what takes thirty years to grow in trees. Plus the fiber does not need to
be treated with toxic chemicals to be made usable. 

On top of the fiber aspect, the plant has many more uses. It is high in
oils, and nutrition. The plant can be used in a fermenting process to make
ethanol (which can be used in place of gasoline). The fibers can be used
to replace cotton, which is the biggest sink of pesticides and chemicals
of all agricultural crops.

FInally, the plant requires very little input to grow. No herbicides or
pesticides are needed. They dont call it "weed" for nothing. It grows
everywhere. It would potentially provide a nice cash crop to some of the
Michigan farmers who are being bought out for strip malls and suburbs.

Other countries are legalizing industrial hemp, but not the US. Why not?
Probably because the paper and oil and fiber companies have to much
invested in wood technology, and are afraid of losing it. Their greed for
the short term gain is killing the forests and replacing them with

Mr. Merkel, does your company use a totally chlorine free process? Does
it produce 100% post consumer recylced paper? Is it putting **real**
money into development of alternative fibers? If not, then all the work
people do to minimize the damage is merely window dressing. I am glad
that it happens, but it is not changing anything really. It is only
allowing 7 steps backwards, where they would otherwise take 10.

As for the following quote from your post:

"If you want to get scared, look at many of the foreign third world nat!
ions, where environmental agendas are absolutely last in line after a
population that wants to grow and modernize. Someday they, like us, will
see what that cost them, but only after they are living comfortably."

I take severe issue with the statement. Our organization is currently
working with "third world' activists and communities that want development
and want their environment to. It is the corporations like Boise-Cascade,
Weyerhauser, etc. and the  corrupt governments these corp.s pay off that  
are pushing the destruction. 

Look at mexico, I believe it was international paper that wanted to move
into a rural community and log off the forest for fiber. The people
resisted. They burned the mill, and forced IP out. they left with their
tail between their legs, with the mexican government apologizing all the
way. Who is pushing the destruction? The upper class and profiteers. 

Boise-Cascade is running into the same problem in Chile right now. 

It is time we recognized that our public forests are no place for the
rapists and profiteers. They only do the work to make the upper class rich
and are not at all representing the needs of people or the environment,
only their fat wallets.

Michigans forests are being raped by these people and it is time that we
took their so called "right" to profit off of our backs.


Frank Ambrose

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