As I read a recent news article about
(IP) partnering with the US Park Service and the National Recycling Coalition
to fund a project to reduce litter and waste in National Parks, I couldn’t help
but laugh out loud. The irony of one of
the world’s biggest producers of fast food packaging –which inevitably ends up
along roadsides, in overfilling trashcans and ultimately in landfills – selling
a commemorative paper cup made from destroyed forests to raise money for a
study to address waste reduction in National Parks is just plain ridiculous.
The US Park Service’s stated goal of achieving zero waste in
National Parks is commendable for sure. But driving down waste only gets
at part of the fast food packaging problem. On the other side of the coin
is the forest that’s being destroyed to make all that paper packaging.
IP’s so called “ecotainer” – the cup they plan to sell to raise money for
the study –is made from tree fiber from destroyed forests.
IP, in addition to being one of the biggest producers of
packaging waste in the world, is also the largest paper producer in the
Southern US – home to North America’s most
biologically diverse forests. For decades IP has been on the leading edge
of destroying Southern forests through large-scale clearcutting, the conversion
of natural forests to plantations and the routine industrial use of chemical
herbicides and fertilizers to make packaging for companies like fast food giant
Yum! Brands parent of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and many more. Used once and then thrown away.
If IP’s CEO John Faraci truly wants to be on the cutting
edge of solving the fast food packaging problem, he would do well to work on
increasing the post-consumer recycled content in IP products and to ensure that
all non-recycled fiber used in IP paper products originates from well-managed forests
certified by the Forest Stewardship Council – the only credible forest
certification system in existence today.