We currently live in a linear economy: we make a product, use it and then throw it away.If things go on like this, Earth will eventually run out of resources and be covered with waste instead.
In a circular economy: we make a product and use it. When we are finished with it, we transform it into another product, repair it or make use of the waste and by-products created during the production process. This cycle may go on endlessly, as we reuse part of the resources and reduce waste production.
For example, we make a product in such a way that, at the end of its lifecycle, it can be easily separated into each of its component materials. These can then be reused to make other products. This means that we don’t need to use new natural resources so much. In today’s economy, we buy a product and when it breaks, wears out or gets old, we throw it away. If we go on like this, we will eventually throw away all our natural resources.
In a circular economy, the broken product is sent to a factory or repair shop for fixing or upgrading. If it can’t be repaired, it will be broken down into its components and transformed into other products.
Any waste or by-products generated during product manufacture can be used as raw materials for other industries, processes or products, thereby saving natural resources!
If you think about it, there are many products we don’t even need to but certain, we could just rent or share them.
The paper and pulp industry is important to the Portuguese economy. Forest industries make up 10.3% of exports. Most of this, 5.7%, comes from the pulp and paper industry.
Portugal is Europe’s leader in this field and accounts for 60% of office paper exports from Europe to the rest of the world.
70% of the energy used in Portugal’s paper industry comes from renewable energy (biomass). This is much higher than the European average (54%).
Forest covers around 40% of Portugal’s land area.
The forest industry involves around 400,000 landowners and employs over 100,000 people.
Forests are the habitat for 80% of our terrestrial biodiversity.
Paper is a natural resource that is recyclable and biodegradable.
Used paper may be recycled from 3 to 5 times.
Paper is Europe’s most recycled product (72%).
Paper is a natural, recyclable and biodegradable product. It is made from wood, a renewable raw material harvested from forests planted according to natural cycles.
The nutrients in the soil, along with solar energy and carbon absorbed through photosynthesis, make trees grow. Trees are transformed into paper, which is used and can then be recycled or biodegraded a number of times.
Trees are planted so that one day they may be harvested and used by the pulp and paper industry.
Forest plantations are sustainably managed and new forests are always planted in place of the old, to ensure biodiversity and to prevent forest fires.
Trees are harvested in a responsible manner to ensure the right balance of harvesting and (re)planting. The felled trees are taken to the factory.
Tree trunks are shredded into small chips which are then cooked to make paper pulp.
The pulp is placed in the machine together with other products, to make a paper sheet that is rolled onto a spool (paper recovered through recycling may be introduced at this stage). Finally, the paper is cut into different sizes and shapes, depending on what it is going to be used for.
The pulp and paper industry is an example of the circular economy because it reuses its resources (e.g. water and production by-products) in continuous cycles and circuits that recover a substantial part of the waste. Biomass (e.g. eucalyptus bark) and other by-products from the paper industry are also used to produce green electricity.
Waste from one industry can be used by others, which cuts the need for new raw materials and creates new business opportunities. We call this process industrial symbiosis.
The various stages in paper and pulp production generate forest biomass such, as tree bark, sludge, ashes and sand. These can be reused as raw materials in the same factory or by other industries (e.g. construction, agriculture).
Paper or cardboard may be used for notebooks, books, letters, newspapers, magazines, movie tickets, shopping bags, toilet paper, paper tissues, napkins, egg cartons and other packages.
All these products are obtained from trees that we plant and replant!
Used paper is collected, sorted and transformed so that it may be used again at the factory to make new paper. As the fibres in paper gradually deteriorate and become weaker each time it is recycled, new paper pulp fibres must be added to keep the cycle going and ensure the recycled paper is as good as it needs to be. Everything comes from the forest!
If placed in the correct recycling bin (paper), used paper can be given new life as something else.
We can’t turn used paper into new paper forever since the quality diminishes each time it is processed, but we can still recycle it several times. New paper pulp (virgin fibres) is added to old paper when making new paper.
The used paper may be recycled from 3 to 5 times, in a process known as cascade recycling: recycled paper; magazines; cardboard; corrugated base paper; moulded fibre (e.g. egg cartons).
What cannot be recycled?
Hand towels, napkins, disposable diapers and food-wrapping paper, amongst others.
Forests purify the air through photosynthesis, by retaining and absorbing the carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Forests improve rainwater infiltration, thus preventing floods. They protect against soil erosion caused by rain and wind.
Over half of all the animals on Earth live in forests.
Forests help to maintain a balanced climate and to diminish the effects of climate change.
Forests are an important source of energy. Wood and forest waste can be used as biomass for producing energy.
Various forest products are used as raw materials in construction (wood, cork, resin) and by various industries, including the pharmaceutical industry (medicinal plants) and the paper industry (paper pulp).
The forest landscape is attractive for tourism and leisure activities. Globally, ecotourism generates nearly early 60 billion euros per year.
The forest sector employees over 13 million people worldwide. Nearly 1% of the world’s GDP comes from the trade in forest products.
Each year, forests provide some 11 kg of food for each of the planet’s inhabitants (chestnuts, pine nuts, mushrooms, etc.).
Wood is a natural and biodegradable product. However, to ensure sustainable use of this resource, we must manage our forests and their resources responsibly.
Sustainable forest management means managing and using forests in a way and at a rate that preserves their biodiversity, productivity, regenerative capacity and vitality. It also means ensuring that, now and in the future, they can fulfil their ecological, economic and social functions at the local, national and global level, without causing damage to other ecosystems.
How do we know which products come from sustainably managed forests?
Simply look for the right certification on product labels.
In Portugal, eucalyptus plantations under the care of the pulp and paper industry are sustainably managed in compliance with strict international forest certification requirements known as FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) and PEFC (™) (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes).
The Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) is responsible for promoting environmental education. It has endorsed the 2019/20 edition of “Mission 360 – Protecting Earth is our role!” (a CELPA-
In partnership with the Portuguese Environmental Agency and the Directorate-General of Education, CELPA – Associação da Indústria Papeleira is organising an innovative environmental awarenes
In the pilot year, Mission 360 went to about 50 schools in 7 municipalities. Each registered grade 2 to 6 class took part in a session about the circular economy. The sessions introduced stu