Alternative Paper Conference at Bates
Several environmentally conscious organizations, businesses, and individuals recently took a bold step towards the future and made a commitment to begin to use tree-free and 100% post-consumer waste papers processed without chlorine bleach in their work. Twenty groups and individuals initially have participated in a tree-free paper buying cooperative coordinated by Compassion Unlimited – Respecting Everyone (C.U.R.E.), an Edgecomb-based, nonprofit organization. The cooperative recently placed a paper order that saved over $1,000 for the participants.
As Heather Burt, director of C.U.R.E., explains, “Buying ‘alternative’ papers is more expensive right now with the market and government subsidies geared toward virgin wood fiber papermaking. Building the demand by bringing Maine organizations and businesses together to buy in bulk drops the prices for participants and helps to influence the larger market. As it is, the large multinational paper companies are already making tree-free and post-consumer waste papers or doing research in that direction. The cooperative is our way of encouraging them to make the transition to more sustainable and environmentally-friendly paper sooner.”
The organizations and businesses joining the first cooperative order of alternative papers include: C.U.R.E., Sierra Club/Maine Chapter, The Green Store (Belfast), Dragon’s Breath Forge (Edgecomb), Ducktrap River Fish Farm (Belfast), ABC Consulting (Edgecomb), Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp (Lincoln), Tom Boudin, CPA (Edgecomb), Friends of Casco Bay (South Portland), Rising Tide Natural Foods Cooperative (Damariscotta), Woodsmith Carpentry (Edgecomb), Forest Ecology Network (Augusta), Maine Island Trails Association (Portland), The Link Environmental Newsletter (Augusta), and Creature Comfort Farm Sanctuary (Edgecomb). In addition, the Sierra Club/Maine Chapter and New Hope for Women (Knox, Lincoln, and Waldo counties) printed their 1997 annual appeals on tree-free paper after consulting with C.U.R.E.
The paper buying cooperative is just one part of C.U.R.E.’s Tree-free Paper Project, a campaign that incorporates an education/outreach component and a technical assistance component. In addition to the technical support that the cooperative provides, educational outreach is being done through presentations, tabling at public events, and the Alternative Paper Conference, which will be held April 4, 1998, here in Maine.
Alternative Paper Conference at Bates
On April 4, 1998, environmentalists, college students, business owners, farmers, paper producers, and others concerned with environmentally-friendly paper choices will meet at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, for the First Annual Alternative Paper Conference.
The conference will focus on the basics of alternative fibers – what they are, their benefits, and where they can be grown; what the economic impact of some “alternative” agricultural fibers could mean for Maine/New England farmers; the importance and viability of totally chlorine-free fiber processing; and how consumers can advocate for change and a transition in the paper market. Andy Kerr, former executive director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council and current board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, will present the keynote address, “Tree-free in ’03: Seeing the Trees for the Forest” — an overview of alternative paper fibers and why there are important to our environment and a sustainable future. Three speakers will provide an overview of the primary alternatives: tree-free and agricultural waste fibers; 100% post-consumer waste fibers; and chlorine-free processing of these and virgin wood fibers. A short series of panels in the afternoon will provide more detailed information on specific topics.
Co-sponsors of the Conference include: Bates Environmental Coalition; Compassion Unlimited-Respecting Everyone; Forest Ecology Network; Native Forest Network; Sierra Club-Maine Chapter; INVERT; RESTORE: The North Woods; Katahdin Center. The Conference is made possible in part by a grant from Patagonia, Inc.
For more information, please contact: C.U.R.E., P.O. Box 100, Edgecomb, ME 04556; E-mail: email@example.com